Young Woman Powdering Herself (1890) by Georges Seurat

Young Woman Powdering Herself - Georges Seurat - 1889 - 1890

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Artwork Information

TitleYoung Woman Powdering Herself
ArtistGeorges Seurat
Date1889 - 1890
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions95.5 x 79.5 cm
Art MovementNeo-Impressionism
Current LocationCourtauld Institute of Art, London, UK, Courtauld Gallery, London, UK
Location Created France

About Young Woman Powdering Herself

The painting “Young Woman Powdering Herself” is a notable work of art by the French artist Georges Seurat, created between the years 1889 and 1890. This oil on canvas piece is a fine example of the Neo-Impressionist movement, notable for its pointillist technique and attention to the interplay of light and color. The artwork measures 95.5 by 79.5 cm and falls under the genre painting category. It depicts a typical scene from everyday life but is imbued with the artist’s unique stylistic approach. The artwork is currently held in the distinguished Courtauld Institute of Art, located in London, UK, specifically within the Courtauld Gallery. Seurat painted this artwork in France, adding to its cultural and historical significance.

The artwork portrays a young woman seated before a small table, upon which rests a powder box. She is in the act of applying powder to her face with a puff, an intimate moment of self-adornment captured with the utmost care and detail. Her figure dominates the canvas; she is dressed in a form-fitting bodice, the style indicative of the era, and her hair is piled high atop her head in a fashionable updo. Behind her, a mirror hangs on the wall, reflecting a vase of flowers, providing a glimpse into the room’s decor and perhaps even the woman’s own tastes.

The choice of color and meticulous use of small, distinct dots of paint, a hallmark of Seurat’s Neo-Impressionist technique, creates texture and depth in the composition. Each dot seems to blend harmoniously with the next from a distance, creating a richer chromatic experience for the viewer. Through this innovative approach, Seurat not only captures the essence of the moment in the young woman’s daily routine but also contributes significantly to the progression of the Neo-Impressionist genre, exploring the optical effects and dynamics of color.

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