Burleigh, Robert. Seurat and La Grande Jatte: Connecting the Dots. Harry N. Abrams, 2004. ISBN 0810948117. $17.95. 32 pp. Reviewer: AnnMarie Hamar Reading Level: Primary Rating: Outstanding Genre: Informational; Subject: Art Appreciation--Juvenile literature; Seurat, Georges, 1859-1891--Juvenile literature; Seurat, Georges, 1859-1891. Sunday afternoon on the island of la Grande Jatte--Juvenile literature; Seurat, Georges, 1859-1891. Grand Jatte; Book--Reviews; Georges Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” (1884) is one of the most famous paintings in the world, yet little is known about the painter himself. Rather than write a biography of Seurat, Burleigh offers young readers the opportunity to become acquainted with him through "La Grande Jatte." The text asks the question, "Can a painting tell a story, if you look at it long enough?" Burleigh's answer is affirmative. References to sketches the artist made in preparation for the final painting offer some insight into what Seurat's life and work habits might have been like. He explains Seurat's use of color, shape, and pointillism (the technique of painting with small dots). Since “La Grande Jatte” measures 7 feet by 10 feet, the reproductions of the smaller sketches form the painting point out details that might be easily overlooked. The text is engaging and easy to read thanks to Burleigh's lively, conversational style of writing. He does not use technical terms nor does he talk down to his reader. The illustrations consist of reproductions of the actual painting as well as enlarged, detailed excerpts, all of which are clear and crisp. The author includes a glossary of art terms, a selected bibliography, and a note explaining why he wrote the book. A time-line highlights some important dates in Seurat's life. What Burleigh teaches about art appreciation is helpful not only in understanding the work of Georges Seurat, but of other artists as well. Seurat and La Grande Jatte was published in cooperation with the Art Institute of Chicago.
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