The Eiffel Tower. Paris

Georges Seurat • Painting, 1889, 24×15 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Urban landscape
Style of art: Pointillism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Wood
Date of creation: 1889
Size: 24×15 cm
Artwork in selections: 28 selections

Description of the artwork «The Eiffel Tower. Paris»

If you think that Georges Seurat painted the main French landmark and the most visited tourist site here, you are greatly mistaken. In 1889, the artist set to paint the most controversial and scandalous engineering structure that was erected in the heart of Paris just the year of the opening of the World Exhibition. This was the construction, against which almost all famous writers and artists opposed. They tried to convince the municipality that an act of vandalism was taking place in the center of the city and this huge, ugly, completely useless factory chimney would distort the architecture of Paris and destroy the view from any window. Remember the textbook anecdote that Guy de Maupassant dined every day in a cafe on the first level of the tower. When asked why, he answered: "This is the only place in Paris from which you cannot see it."

The Eiffel Tower had been built continuously by 300 workers over a period of two years and two months. An amazing action took place in front of the Parisians: more than 18 thousand structural parts were gradually delivered to the construction site, brought higher and higher on cranes and elevators, until the entire ten-ton structure rose above the world as the tallest structure. The construction process delighted the townspeople, the growing metal monster terrified and delighted. It was planned that the tower would stand in the middle of the city for 20 years, and then it would be dismantled. But it turned out that it is convenient to use it to transmit a radio signal, and then a television signal, with its help you can intercept a radio signal and win a battle in a war. In a word, the tower remained. Georges Seurat, of course, did not find any of this, he died two years after its construction and two years after this painting had been finished.

Of course, he could not have chosen anything better as an object conveying unshakable solidity, constancy and enduring power. Unlike the Impressionists, who sought to capture the momentary, fleetingness of a tiny moment in life, the Neo-Impressionists, and Seurat, as the founder of the movement, strive to convey precisely this unchanging essence of things, those their basic qualities that will not change from the time of year or sunlight. There is no movement in their paintings - they are looking for the truth that will be understandable and obvious day and night, this minute and a hundred years later.

Unlike the very artists and writers who wrote formidable petitions to the city authorities of Paris, Seurat, apparently, did not feel horror and indignation at the sight of a metal monster that grew up in the middle of his beloved city. No one would let this painting into the pavilions of the World Exhibition - there were completely recognized stars and pride of the country there, and pointillism just a few years ago became a new thorn in all sensitive places of the salon academic painters. They hardly recognized Édouard Manet, they disowned with horror the collection of the Impressionists, which Gustave Caillebotte presented to the state as a gift. Pointillism was considered is a semi-scientific mosaic, mixed with chemistry, physics and the devil knows what kind of optics, it was clearly having little in common with creativity and inspiration. Therefore, of course, Seurat was not invited to the pavilions of the World Exhibition as a participant - he remained on the other side of the tower and painted a metal ten-ton whopper, as all the artists of the world would paint it many years later, as it will be photographed by all the world's photographers, even onlookers-tourists. Graceful, perfect in form, unshakable and irreplaceable in the urban landscape of Paris, the best architectural miracle that could have happened to this city.

Written by Anna Sidelnikova