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Georges Seurat's La Grande Jatte (1884 -1886)

Returning to the painting, I feel myself decomposing into nothing more than small dots or "points" of color and light. I feel that I am trapped forever in my rigid pose, forever confined to a narrowly defined space in which I am only one of many equally fixed objects. The dogs playing at my feet will not wag their tails, I will not close my parasol and walk home, and the small sailboats on the lake will not move back and forth in the wind. I am part of what is ultimately an abstraction of life and not a representation of it (Gardner 683). I cannot move to catch a ball or to pet a dog or to leave this scene, regardless of how pleasant it might be. I exist, as do others, in a timeless place that will never disappear but in which life itself is frozen.

Gardner, Helen. Art Through the Ages. New York: Harcourt,

Janson, H.W. History of Art. New York: Abrams, 1986.


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