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Circus Sideshow by Georges Seurat
Circus Sideshow by Georges Seurat

Circus Sideshow, 1887

Georges Seurat

A graceful figure standing on a pedestal plays a trombone, with a row of other musicians playing behind her. In the foreground, a crowd of well-dressed onlookers waits in line. The painting technique, known as Pointillism, is striking: tiny dots of paint merge together in a fine mist, with subtle gradations of color. It’s the perfect method to convey an outdoor scene at night, bathed in artificial light. This is a not a generic picture; it shows a specific circus sideshow at the annual Gingerbread Fair held in eastern Paris in 1887.

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Credit
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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