What are the similarities between Pointillism and Aboriginal Art?

When it comes to Pointillism and Aboriginal art it’s better to start with the key differences. The Pointillism style of painting dates back to mid-1880s Paris, pioneered by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. Aboriginal art, as you can imagine, is the artform of Australia’s indigenous people, and has been for thousands of years.

It’s interesting to compare these two distinct artistic styles from vastly different cultural backgrounds, and you’ll find a number of similarities:

Use of Dots

Both Pointillism and Aboriginal art employ the use of dots as a fundamental element in their compositions.

Pointillism relies on the technique of applying small dots or points of pure colour to create an image, while Aboriginal art often utilises dot painting.

As artists we all portray stories through our art, but with Aboriginal art the stories run much deeper. Beliefs even, conveyed through very intricate patterns rather than a simplistic arrangement of dots.

Optical Mixing

Both art styles use the concept of optical mixing. This is where the your eyes blend the individual dots or marks together into a more whole picture.

In Pointillism this is achieved by placing dots of different colours side by side, but to you as the viewer these merge into the perceived and intended colours.

Similarly, in Aboriginal art the dots create patterns, symbolically representing the various elements and connecting them so you as the viewer see the complete picture.

Focus on Detail and Precision

If you’ve studied either of these art forms you will appreciate the staggering attention to detail.

In Pointillism, an artist will meticulously place each dot with absolute precision. Aboriginal artists also demonstrate remarkable control and precision in creating intricate dot patterns which convey the meaning and cultural significance.

Textured Surfaces

Both Pointillism and Aboriginal art styles often result in textured surfaces.

Pointillism, with its application of small dots, can create a textured effect when viewed up close.

Similarly, Aboriginal art, particularly dot painting, can produce textured surfaces as the dots build up layers and provide tactile depth to the artwork.

It’s fascinating how these two art forms have so much in common, despite having such distinct cultural and historical contexts, different artistic purposes, and also different storytelling traditions.

Aboriginal art has been practiced by Indigenous Australians for thousands of years, which makes Pointillism a far more modern art form having originated not that long ago in 19th-century France.

There you were thinking Pointillism was an old art style!

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