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A Showcase of Superb Shading

Georges Seurat’s soft, seductive, figure studies display a mastery of modulated tone!


Georges Seurat’s charcoal drawings manifest a subtle mastery of tone and atmosphere. He is famous for his monumental, pointillist paintings. These paintings, when viewed from a distance, give off a soft, velvety visual quality.


Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1886


Not surprisingly, this quality is evidenced in his beautiful charcoal drawings is another of my favorite artists when it comes to drawing using tone only. I feel that his preparatory drawings are equally as impressive as his more famous paintings. I like his preparatory drawings much more than his finished oil paintings. Here is one of favorites:


Madame Seurat, 1882

Georges Seurat - Drawing using charcoal on rough paper


This work embodies a velvety softness. A subtle light gently catches the front of his mother’s face. His control of soft gradations of tone is exquisite. The modalities of light and dark areas give a quiet drama to the piece and express a moody, pensive, mediative quality.



There is much value for the artist in taking a close look at the mastery of soft tone achieved in his work. His drawing style gently sculpts the form of his subject out of the flat surface of the page. A true master of this mode of drawing!




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