Every so often, an artist comes into existence and completely revolutionizes how a painting is practiced until that point. During the mid 19th century, one such French artist, Georges Pierre Seurat, did just that.
He succeeded in achieving many beautiful paintings that on their own would be enough of a legacy for any artist to be proud of. Georges Seurat also succeeded in creating his own method of painting, which resulted in the founding of an entirely new artistic movement.
The name given to this movement was Neo-Impressionism, and its goal would be to produce a level of precision and vibrancy of color, the likes of which had never been seen before. Building upon its Impressionist foundations and accompanied by his new pointillist method of painting, Georges Seurat would soon take the world of art by storm.
Impressionism and Post-Impressionism
Impressionism itself refers to a style of painting that gained popularity in France around the 1860s. Its primary aim is to capture a visual impression of the moment rather than an actual realistic depiction. In other words, Impressionism focuses on the feelings behind the experience more so than the event itself.
If you are looking for evidence of the basics of these ideas in action, then there is no better example than checking out Georges Seurat’s drawings. Georges Seurat’s artworks beautifully embody this principle of wanting to capture the feelings of the scene over the scene itself.
Although breaking new ground, artists like Seurat felt that Impressionism was still too stuck in the traditions of the past and would need to be expanded upon. As a result, Post-impressionism was born. It would take over what Impressionism had started and fully achieve the subjective approach to painting, where emotion, not realism, would be the center stage of inspiration.
The Neo-Impressionist Movement
Due to the quick rise and success of Post-Impressionism, many of the finest artists across Europe would soon adopt the style and produce some of the most innovative pieces of art produced in decades. One such individual was Georges Seurat painter.
However, where Seurat’s paintings differed from his contemporaries was that they pushed the ideas of Post-Impressionism even further. Funnily enough, for Seurat to expand upon achieving more incredible emotion than Post-impressionism yearned for, he turned to science’s cold and emotionless practice.
In this scientific and more systematic approach, the painter Georges Seurat would find his greatest triumph and contribution to art. By using a painting technique that incorporated dots or points instead of brushstrokes to achieve more excellent color and clarity of form, Neo-Impressionism would be born.
The Pointillist Technique
Inspired by the philosophies behind Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, it soon became Georges Seurat’s primary mission as an artist to achieve a new way of increasing the brilliance of light, color, and ultimately, emotion held within his paintings.
He did this by applying small dots of varying degrees of the same color closely together so that when they were viewed from a distance, they would visually blend into a pattern and thus form an image. You can check Georges Seural drawings and admire this incredible technique.
In his mind, this Georges Seurat pointillism technique of painting thousands of distinct minor points would achieve what Impressionism first set out to do. In Seurat’s view, Pointillism would be the epitome of color, light, and shading, all perfectly blended together so that the painting’s dynamic properties and symbolic meaning would shine through above all else.
Connecting the Dots
The technique of Pointillism relies predominantly on the viewer of the painting’s ability to blend these colored dots into a larger image and a fuller range of tones. This is done by the inner workings of the viewer’s eyes in correlation with their mind’s capacity to identify and differentiate images and patterns.
It is genuinely a fascinating approach to art. Not just in the sense of using the knowledge of science in regards to how the human eye and mind operate, but also in the fact that relying so heavily on the viewer’s perception brings them into the painting on a much deeper and emotional level.
This intimate relationship between the audience and the painting itself achieves the Neo-Impressionist goal of illuminating more incredible emotion within the artwork. Still, it creates a deeper involvement from the viewer that was not yet seen from any painting until this time.
The Language of Color
For almost all of Georges Seurat’s paintings, color was of utmost importance. Seurat believed that color was a language all of its own and was the critical component to unlocking the harmony of emotion that all artists strive to portray.
In Seurat’s opinion, each color held its emotional significance. In truth, many artists share this view, but it was Georges Seurat, with the aid of science, who perhaps delved the deepest into this concept of emotional color.
In Seurat’s theories and Neo-Impressionism as a whole, distinct emotions, whether positive or negative, can be achieved through the correct combination of colors and the angle of lines. To see these ingenious theories in action, check out Seurat’s paintings for yourself.
The Bottom Line
When talking about Georges Seurat painter, a few things stand out. Not only did he stand as one of the significant artists of his time and founder of both the Pointillist and Neo-Impressionist movements. On a deeper level, despite his short life, the blending of his artistic heart alongside his scientific mind achieved more for the art community than many have dared to dream.