A Sunday on La Grande Jatte

The Art piece is called “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte and it was painted by Georges Seurat in 1884. The page number to find the painting of Sunday on La Grande Jatte is 455. The measurements of the paint are; 27 ¾ x 41in (70.5×104.1 cm) and it is an oil on canvas. The stylistic content is Neoimpressionism as explained by Art Institute of Chicago. Georges Seurat’s art work was displayed at the 8th annual and final impressionist exhibition in 1886. His artwork in terms of scale, technique and composition proved very impressive in what is termed as a scandalous eruption within impressionism. Having challenged the first practitioners of impressionism like Renoir and Monet the course of van guard painting immediately changed initiating a new direction that was referred to as Neoimpressionism. He created other ambitious canvases but La Grande Jatte has remained his greatest achievement. Although his work was rarely seen in the three decades after his death, its visibility greatly increased in 1924 when Fredric Clay Bartlett bought and placed the picture on loan at the art institute. This art piece has become an icon and one of the art world’s most recognizable pictures.

 The Seven Elements of Art as Portrayed in Seurat’s Art Piece; Sunday on La Grande Jatte


This is a mark that is made on a surface. This is the first element of art. It is a continuous mark which is made on any surface with a moving point. It is used to express feelings in a picture or art piece, which is to say to show the mood in an art piece. There are different types of lines and each type expresses a particular feeling.

Vertical lines are used to express an orderly feeling, Horizontal lines express peace and stillness and Diagonal lines are used to create a feeling of movement. Generally lines show what is taking place in a picture or an art piece. In this art work therefore, basing on the line analysis, the people sitting, lying denote order and peace they are enjoying at the beach. Trees, people standing also show stillness.


Shape is another element of art which has two dimensions i.e. length and width. It represents an enclosed area which is defined by color, value, shape, texture and form. Shapes can be geometrical rectangular, oval or even square like.

In Seurat’s art piece, there are different shapes, for example triangular shape of the water mass at the beach, semi circular shapes of umbrellas and caps people are using to shelter them from sun shine, and some irregular shapes in the art piece.


A form has three dimensions i.e. length, width and height. The people shown in the art piece are relevant examples of the form cylindrical forms shown in the art piece. The spherical form in this art piece is better portrayed by people’s heads in the picture.


Value is described as the changes in the base color in an art piece. It is determined by how much light is reflected or absorbed by any surface. In a more precise way, values are the various intensities of tones or color. In Seurat’s art piece; a Sunday on la grande jatte, the foreground of he art piece shed in a shadow, the middle ground is cast under sun shine, the background is covered in shadows of the trees at the beach.


This is the quality of the surface or the presentation of any work of art. There are three kinds of basic texture, i.e. actual, simulated and the invented texture. Seurat’s art piece has two kinds of texture. Apart from the far extend bums of the lady in the foreground which is an invented texture, the rest are actual or simulated textures.


Color has three common characteristics i.e.  Hue, value and intensity. A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, covers all the components of color because, the different shades portrayed in the art piece represent the hue component. The dark green in the foreground and in the extreme right corner, and the middle ground which is lighter, all represent value.


Space is the creation of visual perspective which gives the illusion of depth. Seurat in his art piece A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, made good use of space because the whole art piece is drawn yet nothing obstructs another.

A Brief Biography of Georges Seurat

Georges Seurat was born on December 2, 1859, in Paris France to a family of a wealthy lawyer called Chrysostome-Antoine Seurat. His uncle called Paul Haumonte, took him up for private drawing lessons, and occasionally went with little Seurat on regular art expeditions. He also underwent art lessons with sculptor Justin Lequien. From 1878 – 1879 Seurat studied art at the Ecole des Beaux – Art in Paris, being taught by Henri Lehmann, a disciple of the great neoclassical artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, who was also a student of Jacques-Louis David.

Seurat was a secretive man concerning his private life, yet he also inherited it from his father. Seurat produced only seven major art pieces, each in one year. He also produced over five thousand small paintings and drawings before his death on March 29, 1891.

When Seurat began painting in the early 1880s, he was inspired by the earthy colors of Jean Francois Millet and other Barbizon artists whose rustic realism preceded the urban themes and bright colors of the impressionists.

On color, he first looked at the Romantic artist Eugene Delacroix and later turned his attention to the high-hued palette and brush work of the impressionists Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet.