Why Is "A Sunday Walk on La Grande Jatte" So Famous?

Why Is "A Sunday Walk on La Grande Jatte" So Famous?

A look at what makes a good painting.

Why is this work famous? A countless amount of dots on a monstrously sized canvas, showing a sunny, lazy afternoon. Why does this deserve to be in a museum?

Many would say it's the dots, that painstakingly precise technique of pointillism which George Seurat pioneered with this painting. Truly new ideas are hard to come by, and this technique, at least to my uncultured eye, feels new. It doesn't look easy either, and the effort to cover this 7x10 foot canvas with nothing but the tip of the paintbrush. But I suspect that not just any wall of dots would have gained such a foothold in pop-culture.

Others might say it is the composition. The strong blue triangle of water, jutting into the frame on the left, with the larger triangle of green grass dominating the frame, your eye being carried down the gallery of lazy late-day strollers. There are strong lines from the tree trunks in the upper right, and the few people standing, which make you look up and down the piece of art at all those empty faces.

The dabs and dots of paint accumulate into a grand work of countless figures, yet they are all seemingly, sad. Or at the very least, bored. It seems as if everyone in the painting is sharing some great feeling, one of wishing they had something to do, and yet not wanting to do anything at all. The people seem frozen, they stand, sit, lie down, waiting for their feeling of waiting to end. I think what resonates in this painting is this feeling.

I think at some point we have all felt this way. We wish there was something to do, yet, anything we could do has lost its meaning. The 20th-century philosopher Ernst Bloch once described this painting as depicting "endless boredom". Perhaps what is so intriguing about this idea is; why are they bored?

Most of the people in the painting seem to be well-to-do, they are, at least for the most part, able to have the Sunday off from work and enjoy a stroll in the park, is that not everything we are taught to strive for? To get a decent job so that we can have weekends to ourselves to relax with?

This painting seems to me, and Mr. Bloch, to say that leisure isn't the answer to what life is about, it only leads to boredom. But there is one thing remaining. If the painting is telling us not to choose leisure, what are we to choose?

Let us look once more at the painting, and here notice the peculiarly off-palette boarder. The painting is contained in itself, I would venture so far as to say, the painting knows it is a painting. And in the middle of the painting, challenging you not to leisurely look at the painting, but to examine it, by force of her gaze, is a girl in all white.

The painting is telling you to analyze it, but not only itself, but to analyze the world. To live a passive life of leisure is to be trapped in a world of boredom but to engage in it is to live.

Cover Image Credit: The Art Institute of Chicago's Instagram

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The Ultimate List Of 'One Tree Hill' Moments That Left Us Shook

There's only one Tree Hill.

Late last semester, I was in desperate need of a new Netflix show to start watching. I casually inquired to my roommates if I should start watching "One Tree Hill." Both having watched the show before, and slightly horrified that I've never even seen a single episode, they wholeheartedly urged me to begin the emotional journey that is "One Tree Hill." The show is quite a doozy at nine seasons, but I powered through all the ridiculous, melodramatic, and, above all, ups and downs that the multitude of characters experience. I have way too many thoughts concerning this show, but here we go.

Here are some of the best things about this show:

1. Brooke & Peyton's Friendship

2.Haley & Nathan's First Kiss

3. The Cracker Jack Box Prize

4. The Boytoy Auction

5. Lucas and Nathan's Budding Friendship

6. Whitey's Tough Love And Wisdom

7. Jake Being The Best All-Around Guy

8. Lucas's Heartfelt Speech To Brooke In The Rain

9. Peyton Bonding With Her Biological Mother

10. Karen & Keith Getting Together

11. Mouth Being The Ultimate Friend

12. Haley & Nathan Renewing Their Vows

13. The Ravens Winning The Basketball Championship

14. Lucas Declaring His Love To Peyton

15. Haley & Nathan Having Jamie

16. The Heartfelt Farewell To The River Court After Graduating High School

17. The Transformation Of Brooke Davis

18. Brooke & Peyton Reuniting In Tree Hill

19. Haley & Nathan's Little Family

20. Quentin & Jamie

21. Lucas & Peyton Getting Back Together

22. Deb Knocking Nanny Carrie Out

23. The Dog Eating Dan's Heart

24. Lucas & Peyton Getting Married

25. Peyton & Lucas Having Sawyer

26. Nathan Getting Into The NBA

27. Brooke & Julian's Relationship

28. Clay & Quinn Getting Together

29. The Utah Trip

30. Brooke & Julian's Wedding

31. Lydia Scott Arriving

32. Brooke Telling Julian She's Pregnant

33. Jude & Davis Baker

34. Chase Being The Best Bar Manager

35. Chris Keller Returning

36. Keith Forgiving Dan

37. Clay & Quinn Getting Engaged

38. Clay & Quinn & Logan Becoming A Family

39. The Cast Singing Along To The Theme Song

40. This Iconic Line

"One Tree Hill" is definitely a show that gives you some serious feelings, and because of that, I think it's one of the best teen dramas ever made. Lucas, Nathan, Brooke, Peyton, Karen, Keith, Whitey, Jamie, Deb, Mouth, Skills, Clay, Quinn, Millie, Chase, Chris, and even Dan will always have a place in every OTH fan's heart. There is, after all, only one Tree Hill.

Cover Image Credit: Wikia

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