Vincent and Seurat: Artists’ Life and Work

George Seurat

In 1859 on 2 December, a boy by the name of George Seurat was born in Paris. He was born to a Parisian mother and a native father of Champagne. In 1875, sculptor Lequien Justin gave Seurat drawing lessons. In addition, Ingres a well-known artist gave him lessons. Seurat undertook studies in color theories. He also studied the effects of various linear structures” (Weston). He developed the style of painting called Pointillism. He did about 500 pieces of works and was proclaimed a master in his work.

Seurat’s work

Seurat developed the method of painting called Pointillism. He used dots of paint separately instead of mixing colors in this technique. He made his debut in the impressionist’s exhibition with his work titled Sunday afternoon on the Island of the Grande-Jatte. This painting featured rigorous formal organization” (Mancoff).

I attach more and more importance to the purity of the brushstroke – I try to give it maximum purity and intensity. Any defiling sleight of hand or smearing disgusts me. When one can paint with jewels, why use [manure]? Each time that my brushstroke happens to come up against another, not yet dry, and this mixture produces a dirty tone, I feel great physical disgust! (Weston).

His work is known all over the world and because he paved a way for modern art by daring to be different in his procedures.

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh was born in Groot-Zunder, Hollandin 1853 (Malam 5). His father was a pastor and he grew up in a cultured and religious environment. However, Vincent did not have self-confidence and was very emotional (Malam 5). He ventured into art between the year 1860 and 1880 after having worked as a clerk in a bookstore, a preacher, and an art salesperson. He studied art in Belgium and his mission was to “give happiness by creating beauty” (The Van Gogh Gallery).

Vincent’s work

“His works in the early Dutch period were somber-toned and sharply lit paintings” (Weston). His most famous painting is “The Potato Eaters” of 1885. In 1886, he went to Paris and his method of painting changed. His once somber-toned paintings were replaced with lighter paintings done in “short brushstrokes of the impressionists” (The Van Gogh Gallery). His technique in painting was “more impassioned in brushstroke, in symbolic and intense color, in surface tension, and in the movement and vibration of form and line” (The Van Gogh Gallery). These two paintings show his work before and after impressionist influence. The painting on the left shows his somber-toned work and on the right is a colorful painting that shows impressionist influence.

Van Gogh’s inimitable fusion of form and content is powerful; dramatic, lyrically rhythmic, imaginative, and emotional, for the artist was completely absorbed in the effort to explain either his struggle against madness or his comprehension of the spiritual essence of man and nature (The Van Gogh Gallery).

Vincent’s work captured life in his surroundings. His early paintings reflect the lives of poor laborers and peasants. He also painted the bleak landscapes in which they operated. His somber-toned paintings reflect a melancholy atmosphere. After moving to Paris, he encountered other artists- Seurat, Degas, Signac, Monet, Pissarro, and Sisley who might have influenced him in his way of painting.

He painted portraits of people and of himself when he could not find a model. The portraits ranged from women wearing white bonnets to the portrait of Doctor Gachet. His portraits portray his ever-changing style of painting. In addition, he painted still lifes that showed his changing style. He mostly painted flowers in vases and bowls as compelled by his financial status. Cornflowers, Peonies, and Chrysanthemums are examples of his still life drawings (Vincent the paintings).

During his last years, alive Vincent’s mental condition deteriorated and he was taken into confinement. His painting changed due to the influence of Gauguin a fellow artist who painted from memory. Thus, Vincent’s paintings become “more decorative and less realistic” (Artistic Influences).


Both Seurat and Vincent joined the impressionist movement. Vincent borrowed the bold use of color from the impressionist as demonstrated in his late paintings. In addition, Seurat joined the impressionist and developed a method of painting in which he juxtaposed individual dots of colors closely. He was scientific and he relied on the eye’s retina to recreate the paint in the luminous and vibrant effect.

Both artists had an interest in nature as most of their works portrayed. They painted real people in real life and had realistic paintings. For example, Seurat’s most famous painting below Sunday afternoon on the Island of the Grande-Jatte depicts people in a public park on a sunny afternoon.

These two artists faced criticisms during the early stages of their work. However, the criticisms did not stop them from going on with their work and becoming one of the world’s most famous artists. Many people did not like Seurat’s work at first because they thought it was messy. They thought the work was “not very good at all” (Weston).

Sadly, both artists died very young Vincent at the age of 37 when he committed suicide and Seurat 31 after succumbing to diphtheria. They had short careers but left a lasting impact.


Seurat was a painter who used color in a different way to paint. His painting technique used tiny brushstrokes. He was not just interested in the way that the colors were put onto the painting or the painting itself” (Weston). He wanted to use science He is known for developing pointillism. Seurat’s work shows the “role played by science in the 19th century” whilst Van Gogh work “introduces the fact that in contemporary creative circles there was also a resistance to rationalism and empiricism “(Art Movements). Seurat wanted to keep the primary colors separate on the canvas On the other hand; Vincent used swirls in his painting and mixed colors.

Seurat invented a way to show colors as they really are. Not mixed or dulled or anything else. He invented art in which you are allowed to keep the purity of the colors as they come from the tube, and yet still paint and use an abundance of tones to bring life to your painting (Weston).

Vincent was a self-taught painter with little training. On the contrary, Seurat had a lot of training in art. He studied at Ecole des Beaux-Arts and had exposure to antique art. Seurat knew he wanted to become an artist early and embarked on an art career whereas, Vincent tried other things such as preaching, sales before he decided that he wanted to do art.


Vincent and Seurat were artists who took art to a higher level through their work. They painted so well in their genres and are still influential many years after their death. Vincent painted what he felt and this is evident in his work. He used his paintings to depict emotion. On the other hand, Seurat painted using dots and left it to the observer of his work to fill in the colors using his or her retina. Without a doubt, these men are great in their own right. Ironically Vincent sold only one of his paintings during his lifetime and died poor, today his paintings go for millions of dollars.


Art Movements in Art History.” Web.

Artistic Influences.” The Van Gogh Gallery. 2008. Web.

Malam, John. Vincent Van Gogh. Minneapolis Carolrhoda Books 1998. ISBN1575052490, 9781575052496.

Mancoff, N Debra. “Paintings by Georges Seurat.” 2008. Web.

The Van Gogh Gallery. “Templeton Reid, LLC. 2008. Web.

Vincent the paintings. Web.

Weston, Lynley. “Georges Seurat.” Web.

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Premium Papers. "Vincent and Seurat: Artists' Life and Work." November 27, 2021.