Event Title

Seurat’s Can-Can Dancers: Post-Impressionism, Mathematics, and Sexuality in Late-Nineteenth Century French Painting

Major

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Elissa Auerbach

Abstract

Early in his career, the French painter Georges Seurat explored scenes of locals enjoying their leisure time in the parks and the countryside around Paris. Scholars have studied distinctions between his paintings of rural landscapes to his later works; one example isLa Chahut,1890, of a troupe of dancers and musicians performing at an urban cabaret in Paris. Compared to Seurat's paintings of people appreciating the scenic outdoors and fresh air, this painting captures a risquŽ performance of the can-can dance. A combination of Seurat's pointillist technique and the painting's theme of urban nightlife evokes the ethical concerns of venality and sexual corruption that emerged as the popularity of cabarets increased in the late nineteenth century. Seurat's application of contrasting colors of paint in small dots to form patterns and create an image characterizes his technique of pointillism. The combined compatible colors and upward angled lines that evoke positive feelings of pleasure, sensuality, and desire; emotions of the modern performance that are demonstrated inLa Chahut.

Session Name:

The "It" Girl: Can-Can Dancers, Ballerinas, and Venus the Red-Head

Start Date

10-4-2015 9:00 AM

End Date

10-4-2015 10:00 AM

Location

HSB 211

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Seurat’s Can-Can Dancers: Post-Impressionism, Mathematics, and Sexuality in Late-Nineteenth Century French Painting

HSB 211

Early in his career, the French painter Georges Seurat explored scenes of locals enjoying their leisure time in the parks and the countryside around Paris. Scholars have studied distinctions between his paintings of rural landscapes to his later works; one example isLa Chahut,1890, of a troupe of dancers and musicians performing at an urban cabaret in Paris. Compared to Seurat's paintings of people appreciating the scenic outdoors and fresh air, this painting captures a risquŽ performance of the can-can dance. A combination of Seurat's pointillist technique and the painting's theme of urban nightlife evokes the ethical concerns of venality and sexual corruption that emerged as the popularity of cabarets increased in the late nineteenth century. Seurat's application of contrasting colors of paint in small dots to form patterns and create an image characterizes his technique of pointillism. The combined compatible colors and upward angled lines that evoke positive feelings of pleasure, sensuality, and desire; emotions of the modern performance that are demonstrated inLa Chahut.