a sunday afternoon on the island of la grande jatte analysis paper
Seurat’s first major pointillist work was Bathers at Asnieres (1883-4, National Gallery, London). Although rejected by the official Paris Salon, the work was shown at the Salon des Independants, an alternative event co-founded by Seurat himself, where he met fellow pointillists Paul Signac (1863-1935) and Henri-Edmond Cross (1856-1910), who helped him to further develop the idiom. Shortly afterwards Seurat began painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which took him two years to finish. It was exhibited for the first time in May 1886 at the final Impressionist exhibition: an ironic occurrence since the work is now seen as one of the first major examples of Post-Impressionist painting (1880-95).
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884-6)
By Georges Seurat. One of the greatest modern paintings of the 19th century.
The painting was the inspiration for a commemorative poster printed for the 1993 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, with racing cars and the Detroit skyline added.
The painting and the life of its artist were the basis for the 1984 Broadway musical Sunday in the Park with George by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. Subsequently, the painting is sometimes referred to by the misnomer “Sunday in the Park”.
oil on canvas. Monet is an impressionist. He puts up pure color just describe the water. He said, when you go out paint, the impression of the scene not the exact scene. I will discuss Post Impressionism by using three works, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Still Life with Basket of Apples, and The Starry Night. Post Impressionism is a reaction to Impressionism. This reaction against Impressionism is called in avant-garde, or before the group, most experimental or radical style
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
Nonetheless, the now-famous eighth Impressionist exhibition prided itself on being at the cutting edge of new styles and movements, so Seurat’s Grande Jatte fitted that mold perfectly.
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte was initially started in 1884 with a layer of small horizontal brushstrokes of complementary colors. Seurat later added small dots that appear as solid and luminous forms when seen from a long enough distance. This was the way he spectacularly proved his theory, showing that employing tiny juxtaposed dots of multi-colored paint really can allow the viewer’s eye to blend colors optically. This turned out to be a revolutionary alternative to the way traditional painters went about defining forms within their artworks’ compositions.
Georges Seurat (l859-91) was a mysterious and elusive personality. Reserved in character and manner, extremely reticent about his private affairs, he kept no diaries and his rare letters were factual and impersonal. Born in Paris, the son of a retired court bailiff, he learned what he called the routine and dead practices of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, did his military service in Brest, painted in Paris and, in summers, on the Normandy coast. Like Caravaggio, Watteau, Van Gogh, Lautrec and Modigliani, he died in his thirties. The obscure cause of death has variously been described as meningitis, angina and diphtheria. Only after his death did his friends discover that Seurat had a longtime secret mistress, Marie Knoblach, the hefty model with the high hair-do and formidable shelf of breasts in Young Woman Powdering Herself (1889-90), and a little son who died less than a fortnight after he did.
La Grande Jatte complements Seurat’s more colorful and enticing earlier work, Bathing Place, Asnières (1883-84), set in a village just down river on the north bank of the Seine. In this painting five of the seven men look across the river to the Grande Jatte and to the passengers who are being rowed there in a small boat. Both pictures portray several figures in silhouette on the banks of the glistening water, which narrows as it drifts away into the distance. Both scenes have boats on the river, trees on the distant shore and bare-shouldered men or boys. The boy in Bathing Place, wearing a red helmet-shaped hat and hooting through his clasped hands, echoes the horn blower. He and his companion, having left their straw hats and clothing scattered on the grass, are immersed, though not swimming, in the water. The smoke from the chimneys on the far side of the bridge in Bathing Place is matched by the puff of smoke from the motorboats in La Grande Jatte. The former is naturalistic and relaxed; the latter magisterial and hieratic. In both paintings, wrote Félix Fénéon, a rare contemporary supporter of Seurat, ‘the atmosphere is transparent and has a peculiar vibration: the surface of the picture seems to move to and fro before our eyes.’