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Art   History   on   the   Net

Art History on the Net is an art history resource page for kids and
adults.  You will learn how to look at and analyze artwork through
games, project exercises, art history links and more.  

To find previous clues click on the links below.  

You have reached page #5 and you will find clues about the visual
element of texture.  Texture is created by the amount of light which
is reflected on a surface.  Some names for textures are slick,
matte, soft, fuzzy, blurry, dull, coarse. . .Can you think of 
several names for textures.  Write them below.  One way to create
textures is to take a sheet of paper, and place it over an object, and
then rub a pencil over the sheet of paper.  You will get a textural
rubbing and can use that rubbing to create a work of art.  Try it!

Now it is time to take a field trip to the famous museum where you 
will find the painting of the week.

First you will need to print out the information below so that you
will have your clues handy when you look at the work of art.  You
will find below a brief description of the painter, and clues for 
looking at this very famous artwork.

When it comes to looking at a painting everyone's answers will be
different, that's what is fun about an art adventure.  Every painting
tells a different story to each person who looks at it.  Here are some
clues to help you understand this painting more easily.  Remember
print out the clues before you visit the painting on the web museum.
You will find the "real" painting at the Chicago Art Institute in
Chicago Illinois.  

Georges Seurat-Who was he?  Georges Seurat was a French, Post-Impressionist
painter (his style was influenced by the Impressionist painters, that is
why he is considered a Post-Impressionist.)  He is also known as a 
"pointillist".  In fact, he was one of the painters that developed
this style of painting.  Pointillism was a method in which Seurat
painted directly on the canvas in small dots and dabs of colors.  He
mixed primary colors-such as yellow and red-directly on the canvas by
placing them side-by-side. For instance, when you looked at the painting from far
away the colors blended together, creating secondary colors.  When
Seurat mixed yellow + red on his canvas in little dots he was able
to give the appearance of orange to the viewer.  Pointillism was
an amazing technique that was developed before computer pixels or
color television.  Seurat was influenced by the scientists of his
time who were working on color theories and optics.  Seurat studied
their scientific theories and then experiment with his medium-oil

Below is the list of clues that will help you to understand the 
painting's meaning.  Every painting has something to say.  Look 
very carefully and see what this painting is saying to you.


1.  What is the title of the painting?
2.  Does the title give you a clue to the meaning of the painting?
3.  What year was this painting painted?  What do you know about
the people of this time from this painting?  What kinds of clothes
did they wear?  What kinds of activities did they participate in
when they were relaxing?  What did they do on Sunday Afternoons in
France (that is where the Island of the Grande Jatte is located).
4.  Imagine that you could walk into this painting.  What has the
artist done to create a sense of spatial dimension within the painting?
Who is closest to you?  Are those figures large and in the foreground
of the painting closest to us?  Why do we think so?    Is there a mid
 point in the composition?  And is there a far away in the composition?  Has the artist created smaller
figures and placed them higher in the compositional plane to create
a feeling of far away?
5.  Do you see strong vertical lines?  Does that give the painting
a structured mood?  Does it look like a stage set like you would
see in a theatre?  Are the figures posed?  
6.  How would you describe the texture?  
7.  Can you see the little dots of colors that Seurat has used?  Name
the colors.  What is the technique of small dots called?
8.  Do the shapes blend in the composition or do the figures look like
paper dolls? 
9.  Would you like to visit a place like this?  Why?
10.  Do you think that Seurat liked where he was?
11.  What was the weather like?
12.  What kinds of pets did people have on the river bank?
13.  Are the people having fun?
14.  When you visit a lake, or river, or the ocean do you see
people participating in the kinds of activities that you see in this
15.  Do you think there are activities that people engage in now that
they couldn't then?  Why?
16.  Could you make up a story about this painting?
17.  What does this painting say to you?

O.K.  Now visit the musuem and find Seurat under the famous paintings

Parents and Teachers-Mail Your Questions and Comments to 
Art Teacher on the Net.

Go to the museum now and other fun art sites

Art Institute of Chicago
"Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grade Jatte"
A good starting point for Line, Color, Shape, and Space Visual Elements Clues
Art Teacher on the Net Homepage
Art Teacher on the Net

What artists would you like to see here? Contact Contact the Teacher on the Net at