About this artwork

Seurat was an inspired draughtsman. He frequently used conte crayon and made full use of the subtle tones which the medium allowed, as well as exploiting the rough texture of his chosen 'Ingres' brand of paper. This study of the seated nude youth was made from a life model in Seurat's studio. He used it for the central figure in his monumental painting of 'The Bathers, Asnières' (The National Gallery, London). The stillness of the pose was carried over into the painting, where the youth sits languidly on the river bank, cooling his feet in the water.

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Georges Seurat

Georges Seurat

Seurat's distinctive paintings, famous for their 'pointillism', are often described as neo-impressionist in style. This refers to their links with, but also their development away from, Impressionism. Supported by his family and free from financial worries, Seurat studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. While sharing the Impressionists' fascination with translating light effects into paint through vibrant colour he felt that their compositions lacked structure. He was also interested in achieving a more scientific and rational approach to painting and devised the technique of using small dots of unmixed colour side by side to produce an 'optical mixture.'