famous painting sunday afternoon
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.
Some of the characters are doing curious things. The lady on the right side has a monkey on a leash. A lady on the left near the river bank is fishing. The area was known at the time as being a place to procure prostitutes among the bourgeoisie, a likely allusion of the otherwise odd “fishing” rod. In the painting’s center stands a little girl dressed in white (who is not in a shadow), who stares directly at the viewer of the painting. This may be interpreted as someone who is silently questioning the audience: “What will become of these people and their class?” Seurat paints their prospects bleakly, cloaked as they are in shadow and suspicion of sin. 
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.
Paul Signac, “The Pine Tree at Saint-Tropez,” 1909 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)
Other than the little girl, all of the figures in A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte are cloaked in shadow, almost robbed of their identities.
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.
This complicated masterpiece of Pointillism began in 1884 with a series of almost 60 sketches Seurat made while people watching at the Paris park. Next he started painting, using small horizontal brush strokes. After this initial work, he began the labor-intensive realization of his vision with tiny dots of paint—a process that would not be completed until the spring of 1886.
Seurat’s groundbreaking techniques were a major turnoff for some critics at the Impressionist exhibit where A Sunday on La Grande Jatte —1884 debuted in 1886. Other observers sneered at the rigid profiles of Seurat’s subjects. Meant to recall Egyptian hieroglyphics, these poses were negatively compared to tin soldiers.
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
Furthermore, the shadow of her dress is a slight shade of blue as Seurat’s green grass dots intermingle with the dress’ blue and purple dots.