December 2 – Happy Birthday, Georges Seurat!

Posted on December 2, 2013

Dot – dot – dot. It's not Morse Code, but rather an art technique.

Neo-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat (who was born in Paris, France, on this date in 1859) invented what is known as pointillism. A multitude of tiny dots of many different colors are arranged so that our eyes blend the colors. As you know, most painters blend the paint colors themselves, so this technique was a new experience for viewers of Seurat's time. But we experience this sort of dot-dot-dot image all the time on our monitors and televisions, and we often talk about pixels (dots of colored light).

Seurat's most famous painting is A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grade Jatte. He spent a lot of time at the park sketching before he began work on this masterpiece; there are about 60 sketches, or studies of the area. The painting is large—10 feet wide (about 3 m), and it took about two years to complete!

Paint with dots!

  • Here is an easy pointillism art project.  And this is another way to play around with pointillism. 
  • This is a cool YouTube video that shows how points of colored light can create a picture—each version of the picture uses smaller and smaller dots.
  • Here is a modern artist creating pictures inspired by pointillism.

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