Art Quiz: The Answer is Cloisonnism

Cloisonnism? What in the world is that! That was my reaction when this answer was revealed. I’d heard of cloissone as a metal-working technique, but I wasn’t aware that it was ever applied to fine art.

But, first things first. Let’s take a look at The Yellow Christ.

This work was painted in 1889 by Paul Gaugin. He was living in Port-Aven in France. Here’s a bit of information about the inspiration for the painting.

Within the Tremalo Chapel just outside Pont-Aven hangs a seventh century painted wooden carving depicting the crucifixion of Christ. It is from this piece that Gauguin drew his inspiration for the painting and the likeness is immediately apparent. — From

This site goes on to explain that the work is considered “one of the pinnacles of the Synthetist style of painting”, a term used to differentiate the style from impressionism. Gaugin used the word to describe his painting style as one in which the form, color planes and lines were synthesized with the major idea or feeling of the subject. Other artists adopted the term cloisonnism, seeing the effect of large areas of color with black outlines as similar to the medieval cloissonne enamel technique.

Cloisonnism and the Sythnetism art movement were closely-linked.

Cloisonnism is a style of post-Impressionist painting with bold and flat forms separated by dark contours. The term was coined by critic Edouard Dujardin on the occasion of the Salon des Indépendants, in March 1888. Artists Émile BernardLouis AnquetinPaul GauguinPaul Sérusier, and others started painting in this style in the late 19th century. The name evokes the technique of cloisonné, where wires (cloisons or “compartments”) are soldered to the body of the piece, filled with powdered glass, and then fired. Many of the same painters also described their works as Synthetism, a closely related movement.  — From Wikipedia

All of this was new to me, so I certainly learned a lot today. As for the other possible answers, here’s a quick blurb about each.

  • Fauvism: A style of painting with vivid expressionistic and nonnaturalistic use of color that flourished in Paris from 1905 and, although short-lived, had an important influence on subsequent artists, especially the German expressionists. Matisse was regarded as the movement’s leading figure.
  • Impressionism: A style or movement in painting originating in France in the 1860s, characterized by a concern with depicting the visual impression of the moment, especially in terms of the shifting effect of light and color.
  • Bauhaus: The Bauhaus movement was an influential art and design movement that began in 1919 in Weimar, Germany. It championed a geometric, abstract style featuring little sentiment or emotion.

I hope you enjoyed today’s “art quiz” question and answer.



      1. A sad story really – Émile Bernard and Gauguin were close and worked closely together but the latter took the credit (he was 20 years older and an established artist) for the new style 😦

        Liked by 1 person

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