Georges-Pierre Seurat, born on December 2, 1859, was a French post-Impressionist artist known for his innovative use of drawing media and for devising the painting techniques known as chromoluminarism and pointillism. His artistic personality combined qualities that are usually thought of as opposed and incompatible: on the one hand, his extreme and delicate sensibility, on the other, a passion for logical abstraction and an almost mathematical precision of mind. His large-scale work, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, altered the direction of modern art by initiating Neo-Impressionism, and is one of the icons of late 19th-century painting.

In terms of cultural impact, Seurat’s innovations were highly influential, shaping the work of artists as diverse as Vincent Van Gogh and the Italian Futurists. His success quickly propelled him to the forefront of the Parisian avant-garde. His innovations derived from new quasi-scientific theories about color and expression, yet the graceful beauty of his work is explained by the influence of very different sources. His painting has had a huge impact on both the art world and popular culture; it has been featured in a number of movies and TV shows, including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Sesame Street. The painting even inspired a popular musical by Broadway icons Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, Sunday in the Park With George.

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