Presented to Dr. M.T.Houck
March 2, 2001
By Patrick Hamilton
Georges Seurat was born in Paris on December 2nd, 1859.† His mother was quiet and loving.† His father was a legal officer and very unsociable.
When he was a young man, Seurat was tall and had velvety eyes.† He was very secretive like his father.† He was dedicated to art so much that he would buy books instead of food.
††††††††† In 1878, Seurat went to the School of Fine Arts, the official Paris art school. He was first inspired by the classic artist, Jean August-Dominique Ingres.† In 1879 Seurat did military service.† He was stationed in Brest, at a military port in Northwest France. Whenever he was off duty he went down to the harbor to sketch ships.† He spent a year in the army.
††††††††† †† After the army Seurat resumed his training.† He lived in a cramped studio with two friends.† Later he moved into his own studio near his parents house.† For two full years Seurat devoted his life to black and white drawings.† In 1888 Seurat started his first major work, Bathers At Asnieres.† After he finished he sent it to the 1884 Salon art show but was rejected by the jury.† After a while he met some other artists who helped him get his art shown in Paris.† In the summer of 1884 Seurat started the painting Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte.† Every morning Seurat would go to the island and sketch and then in the afternoon he would lock himself in his studio and paint.† Finally in two years he† finished the painting.
Seurat really wasnít inspired by anybody.† He was inspired more by a† scientific theory of color.† He came up with his own style called pointillism.† It was done by making little dabs of paint. With doing this style Seurat was able to get the kind of light that he was looking for.†
††††††††† During his short life Seurat wasnít very social.† He would only talk about his ways of art.† Soon Seurat moved to a city that his mom and dad didnít know.† He married Madeldine Knobloch.† In February 1890 she had a baby. His family was uknown to his parents.† The last painting he made was The Circus.† He worked on it until he died.† He died in March of 1891 at the age of 31 by pushing himself too hard.
Bathers At Asnieres
This is one of the earliest paintings Seurat did.† So early that Seurat didnít even use his pointillism technique.† In this painting there are working people who went down to the river to relax.† If you were in this painting you would hear nothing but a man in the water.† In this painting you can see that he used lines to express emotion.† Diagonal lines can make a person look calm.† A line going up can make someone look energized.† A line going down can make someone look sad.† The boy in the water is made from up lines and is doing the most stuff.† The man lying down is made of diagonal lines which makes him look tired.
This is Seuratís last painting.† He left it undone.† When you look at this painting you might see millions and millions of mini dots scattered around.† This is exactly what he did.† Its called pointillism.† With it Seurat was able to capture the subtle effects of light.† He hoped that he would get better detail.† The first 5 rows everyone is watching the play, but in the rest everyone is doing something else or watching very sadly.† If you look at the horseís expression, you can easily see fear in him while the ring master is whipping him and smiling.† If you look in the top corner you can see three violin players.† Right now we usually donít see violin players at the circus but then it was common.
Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte
This painting is probably the most famous painting in Seuratís career.† He used his idea of pointillism.† In this painting there are Parisians with fancy clothes.† Notice the details in the shirts and hats.† It proves Seuratís theory correct, that you can get more detail by making dots.† Notice the monkey. †By putting the monkey in the painting, Seurat made some big arguments break out.† That monkey means you are married and dating someone other then your wife.† In the right hand corner there is a lady fishing which is usaully done by men.† In fact the only man doing something energetic is a man who is about to throw a airplane into the air.† The other men are standing next to a lady or on the ground.
The Stone Breaker
I am a stone breaker.
Itís a tough life
with my hammer,
†then putting them
in my wheel barrow,
and rolling off.
Twenty-four times a day and
every stone takes a hour.
I see the green trees,
The beauty all around me.
I smell the sweat,
Feel the pain,
Hear the power of the hammer,
Taste the blood of this job.†
Halliwell, Sarah. Impressionism and Postimpressionism 1998 Marshall Copyright, 68-72
Fry, Roger. Georges Seurat in Full Color, 1965, London, Phadian Press