Today looks like it might be my first day of a week of blogging from the Panera Bread Company (home of free wi-fi) as I can’t get my Mac laptop to sync with the University Center’s ethernet connection. Hopefully, you’re reading this before you go to the Art Institute of Chicago, so that I can tell you about my favorite painting in the world.
When I was young, my parents dragged me to some of the greatest cultural institutions in the world long before I was old enough to fully appreciate them. I have been to the Louvre in Paris, for example, but not since I was nine. The one thing I do remember about that visit, however, was the French Impressionist who painted entirely with dots. Later I learned (or at least continued to remember) that his name was Georges Seurat. While I was born in Chicago, my family left for New Jersey when I was six years old and I didn’t come back until I was applying for college and had an interview at the University of Chicago on the South Side. While I was here, Dad took me to the Art Institute and I was absolutely hooked by the painting above.
It’s called A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Seurat, and, of course, I loved it because I remembered the dots. Seurat died of some unknown disease at just age 31, so there aren’t many of these paintings to look at, anywhere. But I also love this particular painting because it’s absolutely huge. Seriously, the dang thing takes up more area than most people’s kitchens, and it’s all done in unique, individual dots. I visit it every time I’m in Chicago and just sit and stare at it for at least 15 minutes. As soon as we’re done with our tour at 2PM, that’s where you’ll find me.
PS It’s also the subject of a Stephen Sondheim musical which is much, much better than a musical about a painting has any right to be.