A new way of making art

Jan 20, 2022

2 December

In 1824 Mr Chevreul is entrusted with the task of relaunching the historic Gobelins factory, after customers complained that the colours were dull and unattractive. Chevreul begins to study and realizes that the colours used by the Gobelins are the same as all the others, and concludes that it all depends on how they are combined. He writes a book where he illustrates how the intensity of each colour depends on the adjacent colours. Georges Seurat, born on December 2, 1859, reads the book and is struck by enlightenment. The social significance of art interests him relatively little, as an academy student he does not stand out, but he is fascinated by the effects of composition and colour. He creates a new way of making art, pointillism, where the compositions are created from small dots of pure colour, which will blend in the viewer’s eye. According to Seurat, the advantage of pointillism would have consisted in producing much more intense and luminous images than the traditional drawing on the canvas of previously mixed colours.

His belief, entirely positivistic, is that we must combine the rigor of science with the free creativity of art: “science frees from all uncertainties, allows one to move freely in a very wide range, and therefore to believe that one necessarily excludes the other is a double insult to art and to science”. How can we disagree?