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Georges Seurat Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, c.1886

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People enjoying the summer day

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Seurat has painted a typical Sunday afternoon at the Grand Jatte, a popular site on an island in the River Seine to the north-west of Paris. He visited the Grand Jatte every day for six months to make preparatory drawings of the landscape and to sketch numerous figures, such as the woman with her fashionable bustle and the mother and child, before creating this carefully planned composition in his studio. When the painting was first shown it was received with great indignation by the majority of artists and critics. They strongly disapproved of Seurat's revolutionary new painting technique, known as "Pointillisme". The surface of the painting is broken up and the colour painted onto the canvas as dots of pure colour. When viewed at a distance the dots appear to fuse together, creating a mesmerizing haze of brilliant colour. Seurat died of a severe infection at the age of 32.

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