A direct descendent of French Impressionism, Pointillism is a highly technical method of painting a scene. It requires the artist to have a great deal of skill as a colorist, and to apply paint in small dots or isolated strokes in such a way that the eye of the viewer will be tricked into seeing a convincing whole when viewing the work from a distance.
Pointillist painters, frequently confused with Divisionists, are concerned more with brushwork than with color. The first recognized Pointillist works are those of Georges Seurat, whose brilliance was not recognized in his lifetime, but who today is considered a master of the Post-Impressionist technique.
Pointillism was born in a technical age, when books of color theory were frequently discussed among artists and the scientific community. The method is actually an optical illusion that relies on the science of vision to achieve its effects.
In addition to Seurat, other Pointillist painters include Paul Signac, John Roy, Maximilien Luce and Chuck Close. Interestingly, Vincent Van Gogh experimented with the technique, but did not frequently employ it in his paintings. The technique is also considered to have influenced the movement known as Fauvism, which also relies on bold applications of color, but in broader amounts to achieve it effects.