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Critical Study of one Chosen Image, Setting It Within Its Cultural Context and Relating to Historical and Contemporary Critical Attitudes It Has Engendered

Autor:   •  April 6, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,082 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,004 Views

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Produce a Critical Study of One Chosen Image, Setting it within its Cultural Context and Relating to Historical and Contemporary Critical Attitudes it has Engendered.

In regards to finding an image to critically study, this essay will be investigating key aspects that have contributed towards the making of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884-6) by Georges-Pierre Seurat, which is his second painting that depicts Parisians at leisure. The painting is now housed in the Chicago Art Museum and is one of the most puzzled over images of modern times. Seurat left behind a lack of clarity in the form of diaries or letters explaining further about the relevance of the subject matter. This painting is still recognised today, perhaps due to the unique style that it is painted in but have we as an audience become immune to its relevance and therefore not appreciating the work gone into making it. In order to study this image other aspects will need to be taken into consideration to understand it fully. To be aware of what was happening in this period of time along with why Seurat chose to paint in this method and what people have thought and written about this then and now.

Seurat personally used the word Chromoluminarism to describe his style of painting or Divisionism. The use of Pointillism is a little inaccurate as it suggests the use of dots to make the image but the technique that was applied is the division of paint from each other to enhance the luminosity of the colour of the image. Paul Signac who was part of the Neo-Impressionists outlines the difference in this style of painting in his book "Neo-Impressionism: D'Eugène Delacroix au Néo-Impressionnisme" which was printed in 1899. Seurat was aware of the term Neo-Impressionist and felt himself to be the father of this movement to which he wrote but never sent a letter to Maurice Beaubourg regarding this. Neo-Impressionism was coined by the Art Critic Félix Fénéon after he had seen his work in 1886 during the last Impressionist exhibition having given an extensive critique regarding the image along with the subject matter and the execution of the painting. Roger Fry in 1910 dubbed Seurat as being a Post-Impressionist when he exhibited his work at the Grafton galleries in London; the term is not one that the artist was aware of as he had passed away by then. Monet was still alive when Fry organised the exhibition that included Impressionist pieces and known in England. The Post-Impressionists were not and Fry (Fry, Goodwin, 1999:89) believed that the ignorance on this part was due to the fact that it gave a social status to be able to talk in an educated manner about the Renaissance masters. Artists that required knowledge to understand yet the more modern painters depicted images that could immediately move the viewer and connect with them. This use of words was more of a way to establish time as in he and the others that are grouped

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