La Seine à la Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

Nolwenn Vendeville
Publié le 19 August 2023
La Seine à la Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

Today, Museum TV invites you to discover a work that soothes and delights. The artist who painted this canvas is also the inventor of pointillism. This method consists of painting a subject with thousands of tiny dots of pure colour. Let's take a look at "La Seine à la Grande Jatte", painted in 1888 by Georges Seurat.

A poetic simplicity

A student at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Seurat developed a distinctive style that would later lead to the creation of pointillism. Though he painted various scenes, including coastal ones, he is best known for his revolutionary use of tiny dots of pure color. Gaining recognition from his contemporaries, however, was a challenge he faced throughout his career.

In the 19th century, the Île de la Jatte, situated on the Seine to the northwest of Paris, was a popular location for artists studying light. Scenes of river life, boats, and strollers inspired Impressionists like Sisley and Monet.

"Seurat introduced an innovative approach by grounding his style in sociological portraits, as evident in works like "Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte" and "Une baignade à Asnières".

La Seine à la Grande Jatte - Printemps

The poetic quality of "La Seine à la Grande Jatte" arises from its simplicity : the Seine, a canoe, and a sailing boat infuse the canvas with a sense of movement. The minimally detailed forms of the subjects enable contemporaries of that era to see themselves in the scene. Furthermore, the distinct dots of paint bestow the painting with the luminosity reminiscent of the Sunday afternoons it represents.

They see poetry in what I do. No, I simply apply my method,' Seurat confided to Charles Angrand. It's a poignant display of humility, but also marks the inception of Neo-Impressionism.

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