pic·​to·​ri·​al·​ism pik-ˈtȯr-ē-ə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce pictorialism (audio)
: the use or creation of pictures or visual images
: a movement or technique in photography emphasizing artificial often romanticized pictorial qualities
pictorialist adjective or noun

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Though Jordan delights in scenes filmed in the ring and brings a graphic pictorialism to the dramatized bouts, there’s little attention to strategy, little discussion of who’s doing what to whom, how and why and to what effect. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 2 Mar. 2023 After about 1910, some Black photographers joined white peers in adopting the techniques of pictorialism, using soft focus, short depth of field and relaxed poses to produce more artistic, expressive images. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, 26 Aug. 2022 Numerous styles are reflected in the book including pictorialism, abstraction and candid street photography from the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Kertész and Alfred Stieglitz, among others. Jeff Campagna, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Dec. 2021 Her way is short on pomp in her exquisite calligraphic musical pictorialism. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pictorialism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1869, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pictorialism was in 1869

Dictionary Entries Near pictorialism

Cite this Entry

“Pictorialism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pictorialism. Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

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