3 Cool Things (You Might Not Know) About Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte"

(Image source / As seen in museum / Corresponding newsletter)

Talk about patience - it took Seurat 2 years to finish this 6.8 x 10.1 ft painting.  Applying scientific principles of his time, Seurat used an innovative method to make a vibrant and witty display of a Sunday afternoon outside of Paris.

Seurat Close Up Woman1. Monumental: Part of what makes this painting "Post-Impressionist" rather than "Impressionist" is the monumentality of the figures - instead of seeming fleeting, the structured and regal figures are grounded in a sense of presence, almost like Egyptian statues or Greek temple friezes. Closer look: Woman's figure is very tall and straight. Seurat also liked to put visual puns in his work. For example, the monkey the woman holds apparently is a play on French slang (singesse) for "woman of the night."
Seurat Detail2. Dots per inch: Although some scientific principles he used may no longer hold, Seurat applied color theory to put totally different colors side by side, intending to intensify the colors and have your eyes combine them to perceive an entirely different color. Closer look: Detail from Seurat's other painting La Parade, not exactly "dots" but short, flat brush strokes. The darkest parts of his hair is composed of shades as varied as light pink, light blue, and dark green.
3. Bueller? In the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Bueller goes to the Art Institute of Chicago and ponders over Seurat's painting.

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Mother's Day Edition - 3 Cool Things (You Might Not Know) About Monet's Water Lilies

Give the Moms in your life some flowers for Mother's Day...

monet water lilies

(Image source / As seen in museumCorresponding newsletter)

What would you do with the last 25 years of your life? Monet spent those years painting numerous landscapes. These blurry yet vibrant water lilies contributed to revolutionizing the depiction of space.

1. Slightly out of focus: Like other Impressionist paintings, Monet's water lilies have a somewhat unfinished look, brush strokes that seem "in the moment." Impressionists painted what they saw (effects of light and color) instead of what they knew to be there (compare to Da Vinci's Mona Lisa). Monet's cataracts and retinal disease blurred his vision - Stanford Med researchers modeled the effects of this on his paintings. See on the left the how cataract vision has a blurriness similar to that in the paintings.

2. Broadening your horizons: The image on the left has a distinct horizon line, an eye-level line that separates the sky from the land. Monet's painting above doesn't have a horizon. The painting actually skips to the surface of the pond, which reflects the sky and is the setting for the water lilies. Although this doesn't happen in all of Monet's paintings, this seemingly subtle change was pretty revolutionary in changing the way artists depicted space. Old people can indeed be innovative.

Thomas Crown Affair3. Irresistable: One of the paintings stolen in "The Thomas Crown Affair" was a Monet. The title of the movie "Vanilla Sky" comes from the clouds of one of Monet's paintings.

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All images, videos, and articles are linked to their respective sources. Elements of this post were also drawn from the following: