1884 News

Mark Cecil

The 1880s were a time of tremendous upheaval in the world of painting. With the waning influence of neo-classicist torchbeareer Ingres, artst such as Delacroix had stepped into the forefront to found an enitrely new school of painitng which would set he tone for the revolutioary impressionist style, which again would establish the roots of twentieth century aesthetic tastes. The 1880s was perhaps the time of most artistic change in the history of painting.

ONe artist, who gained fame with his self-developped theory of painting called pointillism. In this method of painting, the painter breaks down coolr into tiny dots which form objects by encorporating the color of surrounding objects as well as the "natural" color of the object itself. The mnost famous painting of this method is undoubtedly his reknowned "SUnday Afternoon on L'ile de la Grande Jatte", whihc whas painted in 1884. The painting rejects traditional Western shapiong and shading, resembling to a great extent an Egyptian wall painting. He is a revolutionary among the revolutionaries, creating a painting in the midst of the impressionistic fervor which is very regulted - a scientific reproduction of how light forms. Although he was an anomalie in his time, and a founder of a new theory of painting, due to his early death at age 32, Seurat's work was only carried on by followers and immmitators.

A good connection with the dimensionality of artistic expression. It is interesting that computer graphics is essentially a pointillist medium, reducing even the most complicated image to a collection of numerical values, one for each point on a screen with a million or so locations. Seurat is certainly one of the masters of this form. The painting you refer to is one of the most impressive of the genre, (and the inspiration of a Broadway show "Sunday in the Park with George" by Sondheim.) Other artists chose the line or line segment as their basic object, and in cubism there is a move to a unit with even more dimensions. Each movement had its dimensional attributes. You might enjoy looking as a book based on the thesis of Linda Dalrymple Henderson, "The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art", a rather ambitious treatment of the subject from the point of view of art history.