an afternoon in the park painting
“Confronting his subject,” Signac explained, “Seurat, before touching his little panel with paint, scrutinizes, compares, looks with half shut eyes at the play of light and shadow, observes contrasts, isolates reflections, plays for a long time with the cover of the box which serves as his palette, then . . . he slices from his little heap of colors arranged in the order of the spectrum the various colored elements which form the tint destined best to convey the mystery he has glimpsed. Execution follows on observation, stroke by stroke the panel is covered.”
Seurat completed this monumental masterpiece in the 1880s. In order to craft the larger-than-life scene, the artist meticulously applied millions of hand-painted dots to the canvas. Seurat pioneered this technique when painting A Sunday Afternoon the the Island of La Grande Jatte, sparking the start of the Pointillist movement.
In the 1950s, historian and Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch drew social and political significance from Seurat’s La Grande Jatte. The historian’s focal point was Seurat’s mechanical use of the figures and what their static nature said about French society at the time. Afterward, the work received heavy criticism by many that centered on the artist’s mathematical and robotic interpretation of modernity in Paris. 
Seurat’s palette consisted of the usual pigments of his time   such as cobalt blue, emerald green and vermilion. Additionally, Seurat used then new pigment zinc yellow (zinc chromate), predominantly for yellow highlights in the sunlit grass in the middle of the painting but also in mixtures with orange and blue pigments. In the century and more since the painting’s completion, the zinc yellow has darkened to brown—a color degeneration that was already showing in the painting in Seurat’s lifetime.  The discoloration of the originally bright yellow zinc yellow (zinc chromate) to brownish color is due to the chemical reaction of the chromate ions to orange-colored dichromate ions.  In the third stage during 1888–89 Seurat added the colored borders to his composition.
Dalí bought Gala a centuries-old Catalan castle in the small town of Púbol in 1969, creating a retreat for her that he would only visit if he got her written permission. “Everything celebrates the cult of Gala, even the round room, with its perfect echo that crowns the building as a whole and which is like a dome of this Galactic cathedral,” he wrote of the home in his book The Unspeakable Confessions. When Gala died in 1982, the distraught painter broke the Spanish law prohibiting the moving of corpses without official permission, putting her in the backseat of his car to drive her from their home in Port Lligat to Púbol, where she had wanted to be buried. Dalí moved there after her death to be close to her. It’s now the Gala-Dalí Castle House Museum.
Dalí met his future wife, Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, who went by Gala, in 1929, while she was married to Surrealist poet Paul Eluard. (Theirs was something of an open marriage, and they both regularly had affairs.) Dalí met Eluard in Paris and invited him and several other artists to visit him at his home in Cadaqués over the summer. Eluard brought Gala and their daughter Cecile there, and Gala and Dalí fell in love and became inseparable. Gala eventually divorced Eluard, and she and Dalí married in a civil ceremony in 1934, with the approval of Eluard, who remained on good terms with Gala.
It is the most famous example of use of highly systematic and “scientific” technique, subsequently called Pointillism. It relies on the ability of the eye and mind of the viewer to blend the color spots into a fuller range of tones. Seurat himself preferred to call his technique “chromo-luminarism,” a term he felt better stressed its focus on color and light.
It took more than two years for Seurat to complete the painting – at the end, the artist was only 26 years old! Seurat worked on it in several campaigns and started with almost 60 sketches. Then he started painting. This sketch, one of the earliest, would have been painted in the open air at La Grande Jatte:
Individuals never did interest Seurat, only their formal elegance and the way they contributed to the overall perfect balance of the composition. As a result, this high class get-away for the Parisian community appears to be terrifyingly still – although we assume children would be running around and that dogs would be barking, the impression we receive is of silence, of control, of no disorder whatsoever. Even those who came to this mile-long island in pairs seem alone in their concise form.
It is only after close inspection that the viewer sees some curious things happening. The lady on the right side has a monkey on a leash. The lady on the left that’s fishing is a metaphor for prostitution, something this part of Paris was well-known for back in the day. In the painting’s center stands a little girl dressed in white, the only figure that is not in a shadow. She stares directly at the viewer as if she’s silently questioning the audience.