Sunday Afternoon by Georges-Pierre Seurat , is an oil on canvas piece that was created in 1884 during the impressionist time period.
There are three things in particular that I love about this painting. Number one, the lady in the right hand corner has a monkey for a pet it seems almost arbitrary to point out but it shows that the lady was simply a boss. Don’t know what I mean? Most people don’t have monkeys for pets, even today, so this shows that the lady was most likely wealthy especially when you observe her clothing and her male friend’s as well. Looking around, most people in this park appear to be dressed in the same manner. This gives the viewer the conclusion that this is not just any park, it’s a park in suburbia.
Number two, the only one that seems to be aware of what’s going on or even just aware of the painter is the little girl. She is facing directly forward unlike anybody else. This shows a hidden idea/theme that innocence doesn’t mean ignorance. Her innocence highlights the ignorance of those around her. Children usually symbolize innocence and despite her being the youngest individual in the painting she isn’t ignorant or oblivious in the slightest way. She is even standing next to a motherly figure which should evoke a sense of instinct in the mother to be protective and observant over what the little girl is looking at but she is more intrigued by the water and/or boats. Thus we have the three I’s, imagination, innocence, and intelligence all found within the little girl.
Lastly, the technique, the sheer oddly creative and beautiful style it has deserves a second glance but when the viewer realizes that this is an impressionist piece it all becomes clear. Through this technique Georges-Pierre Seurat was able to communicate impressionist fundamentals. Impressionist depict the world the way they see it, even if that means it’s not an exact depiction of reality. He continues in this impressionist mold by his use of vivid and rich colors as well as the photographic nature of the painting. His technique is peaceful yet evokes a feeling of rough texture which brings the subject of this park in nature to the viewer in a realistic and somewhat tangible way. They also were influenced by photography which can be seen in the way that he candidly captured a Sunday afternoon.
Due to this, an artwork from 1884 is still amazing people today. This is done through his use of conveying wealthy subjects, theme of innocence versus ignorance, and his beautiful technique. Well done Georges-Pierre Seurat, well done.