- Post-impressionism Post`-im*pres"sion*ism, n. (Painting) In the broadest sense, the theory or practice of any of several groups of painters of the early 1900's, or of these groups taken collectively, whose work and theories have in common a tendency to reaction against the scientific and naturalistic character of impressionism and neo-impressionism. In a strict sense the term post-impressionism is used to denote the effort at self-expression, rather than representation, shown in the work of C['e]zanne, Matisse, etc.; but it is more broadly used to include cubism, the theory or practice of a movement in both painting and sculpture which lays stress upon volume as the important attribute of objects and attempts its expression by the use of geometrical figures or solids only; and futurism, a theory or practice which attempts to place the observer within the picture and to represent simultaneously a number of consecutive movements and impressions. In practice these theories and methods of the post-impressionists change with great rapidity and shade into one another, so that a picture may be both cubist and futurist in character. They tend to, and sometimes reach, a condition in which both representation and traditional decoration are entirely abolished and a work of art becomes a purely subjective expression in an arbitrary and personal language. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.