seurat a sunday afternoon on the island of la grande jatte
The huge work (7 feet in height; 10 feet in width) caused a sensation. Not only did it exude a shimmering impression of warm, hazy sunshine, but the stylized, statuesque nature of its figure painting exuded a timeless and monumental quality. Unlike the fleeting naturalism of Monet (1840-1926) and Renoir (1841-1919), which captured the momentary perceptions of the artist, La Grande Jatte was painstakingly planned from start to finish in the manner of a Greek frieze, and its (often) symbolic content positively invites careful scrutiny.
For an interpretation of other pictures from the 19th and 20th centuries, see: Analysis of Modern Paintings (1800-2000).
“Confronting his subject,” Signac explained, “Seurat, before touching his little panel with paint, scrutinizes, compares, looks with half shut eyes at the play of light and shadow, observes contrasts, isolates reflections, plays for a long time with the cover of the box which serves as his palette, then . . . he slices from his little heap of colors arranged in the order of the spectrum the various colored elements which form the tint destined best to convey the mystery he has glimpsed. Execution follows on observation, stroke by stroke the panel is covered.”
While the styles explored by Post-Impressionist artists are diverse, most featured flatness, formality, and exaggerated color in their work—characteristics that are evident in A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
In 2011, the cast of the US version of The Office re-created the painting for a poster to promote the show’s seventh-season finale. 
The painting was the inspiration for a commemorative poster printed for the 1993 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, with racing cars and the Detroit skyline added.
In traditional painting, shadows are primarily represented by the color black, but the principles of Pointillism dictate that one should define his shadows by the color they come into contact with. The skirts of the women are definitely the best examples of this. On the other hand, Seurat’s use of light is also one of the unique points of the piece. The light from the left comes into contact with people and objects in the composition, and he did a truly masterful job of blending such colors.
Nonetheless, the now-famous eighth Impressionist exhibition prided itself on being at the cutting edge of new styles and movements, so Seurat’s Grande Jatte fitted that mold perfectly.
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
Despite the island of La Grande Jatte looking a great deal different to how it once did, Seurat’s effort is perhaps the most similar to how it looks today. The banks of the river Seine are considerably steeper than in Seurat’s day but one spot is convincingly similar to his Grande Jatte.