The school of painting known as pointillism was a popular spin-off of Impressionism in the late 1800's. One well-known master of pointillism was Georges Seurat.
This school of painters seems to have gotten a head start on the pixel by 100 years! Their technique of painting consists of tiny dots of pure color that, when viewed from a distance, coalesce to give an impression not too far off what actually hits the eye in nature. In French, the diminutive plural of point is pointilles, or tiny dots, and the verb pointiller means "to cover with small dots."