Google Doodle celebrates George Seurat: Why do we honor his birthday? –

This Thursday, December 2, marks the 162nd anniversary of the birth of the French painter Georges Seurat, creator of pointillism, and Google has decided to honor him with a new Doodle.

Seurat was born in Paris, France to a wealthy family, beginning his art lessons as a teenager before enrolling at the prestigious fine arts institution cole des Beaux-Arts in 1878, where he learned about color theory and contrasts.

Seurat was seduced by art at an early age

However, in November 1879 he left school to study on his own, influenced by the Impressionists Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro, as well as enlisting in the army. A year later, he returned to Paris, taking up art again, with special attention to the craft of monochromatic (one-color) works.

Seurat, given his interest in the science of art, studied color theory, perception and the psychological power of line and form, this time influenced by the writings of French chemist Michel Eugne Chevreul and American physicist Ogden Rood, adding his scientific approach to color and optical effects in his paintings.

The Paris Salon, a prestigious venue for new works of art, had already given Seurat the opportunity to exhibit his work in 1883 with a pencil portrait of his roommate, but a year later he turned down his first major painting, The Bathers of Asnires.

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

This episode led the French painter to work on his signature piece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Seurat applied his pointillist technique with thousands of tiny dots and brushstrokes on the mural-sized canvas.

Such a work of art, which took two years to complete and is now part of the Art Institute of Chicago’s permanent collection, depicts Parisians strolling and relaxing in an island park on the Seine River.

Seurat lost his life in 1891 at just 31 years of age, after a brief illness that to this day is unclear, but could have been meningitis or pneumonia.

The new Google Doodle shows the pointillist technique using 200,000 small brushstrokes and touches of contrasting color to depict A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.


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