By Foa, Michelle; Seurat, Georges; Seurat, Georges Pierre
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Additional info for Georges Seurat : the art of vision
On a personal note, I thank my mother, stepfather, and sisters for their support, and especially Jeremy and Ethan, who are so very important to my happiness. Finally, I thank my father, who showed me the joys of being immersed in books, pursuing one’s curiosities, and sharing one’s discoveries with others. Introduction Georges Seurat painted The Hospice and Lighthouse of Honfleur in the summer of 1886, one of seven paintings in a series that he produced of Honfleur’s port and surrounding coastline (see fig.
18 In other words, when looking at a picture, both the left and the right eye perceive the same image, rather than the two slightly different views of the real scene perceived in binocular vision. Consequently, a painted scene cannot provide us with the binocular disparity that normally sustains the perception of depth and solidity. Indeed, this lack of binocular disparity tells us that a painting is flat. Likewise, the various visual cues for distance and relations in space that we perceive through changes in our physical position are also not available when looking at a painting.
Furthermore, Helmholtz’s research on perception was widely accessible in France in Seurat’s time through the work of French scholars. Hippolyte Taine, one of the most well-known intellectuals in France of the later nineteenth century, cites Helmholtz’s writings on perception and cognition in his major work on psychology De l’Intelligence, published in 1870 and reissued in subsequent editions during the 1870s and 1880s. Among other sections, Helmholtz’s ideas are discussed at length in the portions of Taine’s book that address the acquisition of spatial perception, with Helmholtz serving as one of Taine’s main sources.