"Bathing at Asnieres" Introduction (02:33)
A description orients viewers to the French riverside town in the late 19th century. Georges Seurat visited in 1883 and was inspired to invent pointillism; view his work "Bathing at Asnieres."
"Bathing at Asnieres" Subjects (03:10)
Bathers gaze in the direction of Grand Jatte, the island subject of Seurat's next painting. In the background, a train and factories symbolize late 19th century industries. Haussmann had modernized Paris, and Pasteur had discovered microbes.
Asnieres' Industrial History (03:53)
As the Paris population doubled, factories were moved to the suburbs, creating poverty. The boy in Seurat's "Bathing at Asnieres" was likely employed; industries relied on child labor. Learn about working conditions.
Optical Painting (03:36)
Seurat's pixelated points are compared to French scientific industrialization. He made shapes appear without mixing pigment, optimizing brightness. Learn about Eugene Chevreul's discoveries about contrasting colors, and hear arguments for and against harmony in pointillism.
Creating "Bathing at Asnieres" (03:03)
Seurat used on-site sketches to scientifically synthesize canvasses in the studio. Hear descriptions of the artist from friends and associates. Born in Paris in 1859, he was inspired by Impressionists and by Puve de Chevan's allegorical frescoes.
"Bathing at Asnieres" Composition (02:29)
The central figure is disproportionate in terms of perspective and the embankment divides the canvas. Workers had recently been granted Sundays off; Seurat supported their struggle. Hear political changes he witnessed during his lifetime.
French Leisure Activities (04:05)
On Sundays, workers went to church, strolled, patronized cafes, and wore their best. Hear an analysis of hats appearing in "Bathing at Asnieres.” Seurat’s work captures Parisian infrastructure developments; after 1837, city residents could visit Asnieres by train.
Artistic Recognition (02:21)
Neither classical, Impressionist, nor Symbolist, "Bathing at Asnieres" was refused by the 1884 Salon. Seurat helped set up the Group of Independent Artists and was discovered by Felix Feneon, who defended pointillism. The work marks the start of a new progressive era.
Credits: Bathers at Asnieres (1884) by Georges Seurat: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings (00:36)
Credits: Bathers at Asnieres (1884) by Georges Seurat: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings
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