Thursday, May 2, 2013


I thought it would be interesting to post art vocabulary in an entertaining way, to impart morsels of information from which to draw when viewing works of art, with the hope that it will enhance  your viewing experience.

Today's word is  REPOUSSOIR  pronounced (ray-poo-swah).  It is of French origin and means "to push back".  It is a technique used to achieve perspective or spacial relationship.  For example, placing a large figure or object in the immediate foreground of a painting, the artist increases the illusion of depth  in the rest of the picture.

Paul Signac (1863 - 1935), a French Neo-Impressionist painter, used this technique adeptly in his painting "Sunday"  featured above.  Take note of how the large figure of the man further enhances the visual sense that there is distance between the foreground and background.

Other artists employing this method are Paolo Veronese, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Gustave Caillebotte.

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