What I’ve Learned from “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte”


Art speaks to us in many ways. Sometimes it makes us feel an emotion; other times it inspires us.

That’s how I have always felt about Georges Seurat’s, “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.”

The first time I viewed this painting at the Art Institute in Chicago, was in the summer of 1983. It was the first time for me to visit any kind of art museum or gallery and it changed my life. It just happened that summer there was an French Impressionism exhibition at the Institute and it was the talk of town.

What I liked most about this painting was Seurat’s use of pointillism. When you get really close to the painting, all you see are these dots of paint with spaces between them; as you move back and begin to look at the painting as  a whole, those spaces between the dots connect it all together.

In my latest novel, I have one of the characters describing this technique and how it affects our perception of reality.

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