Saturday, May 22, 2010

La Grande Jatte

At first sight, this seems to be a harmonious representation of leisure in late nineteenth-century France. Sun falls on people strolling and lazing on the river bank. The atmosphere is calm and still. However, when we look more closely, the work reveals Seurat’s concern about contemporary society.

George Seurat - La Grande Jatte (1885)

Figures seem stiffly poised and mechanically positioned, and there is no social interaction. Faces are generalized. The minute dots of which painting is comprised suggest an absence of feeling – technical accuracy, scientific precision, and skilled observation have combined to create a detached mood. Leisure pursuits are said to reveal society’s trust nature. Seurat presents a troubling glimpse of the new, depersonalized industrial world.

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