Georges Seurat Research Analysis

1014 words - 5 pages

Georges Seurat painted “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” from 1884 to 1889. This painting was painted in the style called pointillism. Seurat wanted to achieve a painting that contained a picture when viewed from far away, but when seen up close would appear as mere dots. “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” is a masterpiece that has been called by many critics “an iconic symbol of the pointillist movement” (Casadio).
To begin, pointillism stemmed off from impressionism in the post-impressionism era in the late 1800’s. While pointillist painters preferred the same subjects to paint as impressionists, they veered off when it came to how to approach the ...view middle of the document...

Seurat painted with an unconventional method, and even applied his avant-garde ways to shadows in his painting. In a conventional painting, shadows are typically painted using the color black. But Seurat, using his new ideas from pointillism, is able to create his shadows simply with the colors that are in close contact with each other. For example, the skirts of the women showcase this technique. Seurat specifically designed the women in this painting center’s clothing to be casting a shadow that is blue on the ground around them that is “not being defined by traditional means but [is] instead a combination of the colors in its proximity,” (Artble). Seurat was able to create a new way of producing a common item in paintings with this never before seen technique.
Seurat also makes interesting use of light in his painting. The point of the painting where the light on the left side of the painting comes into contact with the objects and figures on the island showcases Seurat’s unique approach to create light in a pointillist painting. The way that Seurat shows this light with his “blend of such colors is pointillism's primary concern and as its founder Seurat's work epitomizes the technique” (Artble). An example of this blended effect to create light in this work of art is the line of trees. The upper left of the painting showcases a bright white day that then slowly but surely becomes progressively less white until it comes together and blends seamlessly with the bright greens of the leaves on the trees. Seurat was able to create this light effect with a special technique that involved placing little white dots next to green dots until complete blending has occurred.
In this painting, it is obvious to any viewer that Seurat primarily focused on the people’s shapes and their shapes only, never their personalities. This is because “individuals did not interest him, only their formal elegance,” (Beckett)....

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