Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Sunday Afternoon by Georges Seurat


Georges Seurat spent two years painting A Sunday Afternoon through constant observation. Such a painting took a considerable amount of effort and he spent many hours sitting in the park drawing sketches, making preliminary paintings and perfecting his craft. He used a concept called pointalism which is painted in small dots to enhance the colors and make them more vivid to viewers.

He is the perfect example of how many years of practice make perfection with one’s work. This is a very different concept than many people view today through the instant television impressions of success. Even our modern day heroes of sports players recognize the amount of time and effort they put into their own crafts.

The painting was created as a representation of Ile de la Jatte which is an Island at the gates of Paris. Locals would bring their families to the park and lounge on Sunday afternoon. Such patrons would play games, fish, have meaningful conversation, and do other socializing with Paris residents.  It is a painting representing the social classes of the time. 

Goerge Seurat was born in 1859 and is considered a French post-impressionist painter. Such painters used bright colors, thick paint and distinctive styles. He was born in Paris and became wealthy by speculating in land. He spent some time in the French military and later years with a young model that bore him a son before his death. 

Seurat took a scientific approach to painting. He believed that one could use painting to elicit emotion in much the same way as a musician could through the arrangement of notes. By using color he could create a language through heuristics. Emotion such as gaiety can be achieved through luminous hues, warm colors and upward directed lines. Likewise, calm can be developed through light and dark, balance of warm and cold colors, and horizontal lines. Sadness comes through dark colors and pointing lines downward.

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