Natural Motif in Post-Impressionism By Kyler Johnson

This gallery includes works from the Post-Impressionist period depicting a natural motif. Although Post-Impressionists pursued a variety of techniques and styles, landscapes depicting the natural world was definitely a favorite among them. For example, Van Gogh relished the vibrant colors of impressionism, but rejected any careful analysis of colors. Their landscapes depicting natural forests, leisurely afternoons spent outside, and peaceful waters emanated tranquility and contentedness. Let's take a look. 

This piece depicts a leisurely afternoon enjoying natural world. We can observe people lying in the green grass on a sunny day overlooking peaceful waters and enjoying the company of others. Despite having incorporated many impressionist elements, Seurat defied impressionism by excluding any element of human movement. They appear to be frozen in time enjoying the outdoors.
In this piece, Pissarro depicts pure natural beauty. There is one tree closest to us, several more behind that, and what appears to be a thick forest off in the distance. There is no real emphasis or anything spectacular, as the depiction of trees and shrubs are ordinary natural subjects. Pissarro defies impressionism by using pointillism to create texture and life-like color.
In another beautiful depiction of the natural world, we can observe a tree in the foreground and a town in the background all under a swirling night sky. The tree is an inconvenience, as it seems to be hiding part of the town; yet, a steeple stands out, reaching high above the rest of the town. The emphasis is definitely on the skies with the contrasting yellow and blue swirls directing you toward the vibrant stars.
As the title suggests, this vibrant piece is reminiscent of a cool day in autumn during Mother Nature's most colorful time of the year. We can observe a small tree in a clearing, which isn't significant enough to draw your eye. In the background, trees and brush form the perimeter of the hollow with still more trees beyond, which serve to create unity in the piece. The pointillism technique brilliantly renders the diverse color of the leaves in a realistic manner.
The subject of this pointillism piece is a massive, elaborate tree with dark green foliage. The blue color in the canopy lends a 3D perspective and really brings the tree to life. In the background, sailboats can be observed navigating peaceful waters. The water and the sky, are lightly colored so that the emphasis is still on the tree. The light colored background and the dark foreground contrast to leave the the emphasis on the tree.
In this piece, Van Gogh depicts two couples enjoying nature with nothing to focus on but each other, creating a sense of togetherness. His choice to apply yellow and light green with short brush strokes gives the scene a radiant feel, furthering the sense of intimate unity. The painting is very well proportioned making it very aesthetically pleasing, relaxing the viewers and opening them up to the romantic quality of intimacy.
Camille Pissarro was known for experimenting with color harmonies and what better way to do that than to paint the beauty of the natural world? There is a person in the foreground that is immediately noticeable but is not differentiated with color. The emphasis, as the title suggests, is on the sunrise above the tree line. To further this emphases, we can observe the long shadows casted over the foreground by the nearest trees.
The emphasis in this piece is on the person in the clearing, but the barren trees and absence of color give the scene a sense of desolation and loneliness. In the underbrush and trees, Pissarro's habit of experimenting with harmonious color can be observed, as he incorporated light browns and contrasting grays in short brush strokes.
The scene in this piece is sparse, but is meticulously balanced with vibrant colors. We can observe the light sand-colored beach met by the water of the inlet. Beyond the water we can observe a large hill to the right, and sail boats and a strip of land to the left. Signac's rendering of light glinting across the water and the reflection of the hill illustrates the sense of peacefulness and serenity in the natural body of water.
This piece is yet another illustration of the tranquility of the natural world. The yellow leaves, contrasting with the green ones, are a vibrant addition to the foreground. The body of water directly underneath leisurely reflects the leaves and is depicted using a harmonious combination of tan and blue leading to the the distant land in the background with a building on it. The juxtaposition of lights and darks and the harmonious colors used to depict the water create a sense of relaxation and tranquility.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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