“Admirers of Seurat often regret his method, the little dots. Imagine, Renoir said, Veronese’s Marriage at Cana done in petit point. I cannot imagine it, but neither can I imagine Seurat’s pictures painted in broad or blended strokes. Like his choice of tones, Seurat’s technique is intensely personal. But the dots are not simply a technique; they are a tangible surface and the ground of important qualities, including his finesse. Too much has been written, and often incorrectly, about the scientific nature of the dots. The question whether they make a picture more or less luminous hardly matters. A painting can be luminous and artistically dull, or low-keyed in color and radiant to the mind. Besides, bow to paint brightly is no secret requiring a special knowledge of science. Like Van Gogh, Seurat could have used strong colors in big areas for a brighter effect. But without his peculiar means we would not have the marvelous delicacy of tone, the uncountable variations within a narrow range, the vibrancy and soft luster, which make his canvases, and especially his landscapes, a joy to contemplate. Nor would we have his surprising image-world where the continuous form is built up from the discrete, and the solid masses emerge from an endless scattering of fine points – a mystery of the coming-into-being for the eye. The dots in Seurat’s paintings have something of the quality of the black grains in his incomparable drawings in conte crayon where the varying density of the grains determines the gradations of tone. This span from the tiny to the large is only one of the many striking polarities in his art.
– From Meyer Schapiro, “Modern Art”
1883-84: Une baignade, Asniéres
1889: The Eiffel Tower