Seurat Drawings

Lately I’ve been looking at Seurat’s charcoal drawings, specifically to look at the way he handles the articulation of the human form and also how he so seamlessly integrates figures into their environments. Oddly enough, I actually really don’t care for his paintings at all. I find them incredibly stiff and lacking in terms of depth and atmosphere, two formal elements that are particularly effective and subtle in his drawings. I find it incredible how suggestive, subtle, and intimate his drawings are. Any attempts on the viewer to find details to pick at are futile, and it’s astounding how simple the execution when you take a very close look. What I think is one of the strongest parts of his technique is his transitions: how he leads you from one form to another, or from a figure into space. The choices he makes on when to present clarity and when to make certain areas obscure seem so perfect and natural.

Seurat Drawing

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3 thoughts on “Seurat Drawings

  1. Hi Clara – thought I would say that I have always been a fan of his for his drawings, but I too find his paintings incredibly stiff. And other than from an Art History 101 standpoint, I think the paintings are really not that interesting. The recent show at MOMA of his drawings was quite nice.

  2. In my opinion, there are actually quite a few other artists like Seurat who are famous for their paintings and/or sculpture, yet whose drawings I think are actually the stronger pieces. I think drawing forces us to be honest and direct in a way that other mediums don’t tend demand from us as much. There’s just nowhere to hide in a drawing, it’s about as naked as you can get as an artist.

  3. Hi Clara – I’ve been teaching drawing in upstate NY at Cazenovia College, and I just did a search for “Seurat charcoals” because I’m taking my students to a bowling alley to do some gesture drawings and tonal sketches, and I saw your name come up! How have you been? I also want to mention, in case you haven’t seen them yet, Fogg Archive in Cambridge has these actual drawings, and if you just make an appointment, all they need is a driver’s license and you can hold the actual paper and examine it. It’s amazing!

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