Saturday, January 8, 2011

Georges Seurat (December 2, 1859 – March 29, 1891)

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

Georges-Pierre Seurat is remembered as the father of Pointillism, though he was also an immensely talented Realist and Impressionist. Actually and apocryphally, I prefer his Realism and Impressionism. I don't know why, but Pointillism as a whole never appealed to me. I can appreciate works made in that dot-dot mode, but somehow I also feel this terrible sterility flow out of that imagery. What do you feel?

Angelica Chained to the Rock

The Can-Can

Bathers in the Water

Bouquet in a Vase


  1. I feel like the effects of Pointillism are mostly lost on us when we view a photograph of the painting. I think digital copies of paintings tend to vary in their effectiveness of transmitting the intended feelings, and Impressionism and Pointillism suffer especially. I look at Pointillist paintings in my local art museum and particularly enjoy seeing the real surface.

  2. James, you're perfectly right: a photo is a poor substitute for the physical work. Personally, I can stare for hours just at the rising sweeps left by the painter's strokes. As for Pointillism, the painting at the very top, for example, A Sunday Afternoon, is one I've seen several times, and yet somehow have remained indifferent to. I suppose there's something a bit too mathematical about Pointillism in general (though far from totally), which makes me cold to it. But that certainly doesn't mean that I don't appreciate it objectively or historically.