Georges Seurat spent two years working on A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which measures a striking 10 feet across. The painting illustrates (even defines) the pointillist technique that Seurat pioneered based on the scientific insights on color and perception of his time. Seurat also experimented with chromoluminarism, a similar but less extreme technique relying on small brushstrokes of color rather than mere dots of paint. Like pointillism, images are painted in component colors that are naturally blended by the eyes/brain of the viewer.
Seurat’s pursuit of both science and beauty is very much like wine making—a technical and intuitive undertaking that (hopefully) ends with something beautiful. Possibly transporting. (Such administration of head and heart to work that ultimately stirs both the mind and soul also reiterates the universal human endeavors shown in craft and art through all of history.) Seurat’s famous use of contrasting light and dark is also reminiscent of the many characteristics a fine wine can embody. Whew, all this deep thought is making us thirsty. How about you?
Fun fact: You’re not seeing things (and you’ve not had too much wine—as far as we can tell), there are some pretty weird elements in A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Such as a horn player, two soldiers standing at attention, and of course, a monkey on a leash. ‘Cause what’s a party without a monkey on a leash? Have we missed any surprising details of the painting? If so, be sure to email us and tell us all about it.