I know we didn't talk about the painting all that much, but George Seurat's painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte always makes me think of the musical Sunday in the Park with George. It's a musical by Stephen Sondheim that was inspired by Seurat's painting and is about the fictionalized life of Seurat and his unappreciated artwork and the painstaking process of creating A Sunday Afternoon. I was listening to the soundtrack the other day and there's a song called "Finishing the Hat" that describes the dedication and determination and time it takes to create a painting that precise and elaborate.
For most of the song, Seurat talks bout how he watches his life pass him by while he's stuck inside working on A Sunday Afternoon and painting one of the very detailed hats, but he's dedicated to his work and loves it and no one will understand why he gives up his happiness and relationships to work on that stupid hat. Some of the lyrics are, "There's a part of you always standing by, mapping out the sky...finishing a hat...starting on a hat...finishing a hat...look, I made a hat...where there never was a hat." The song is very sad and lonely and still rather hopeful, but I felt that it gives us an idea of the ultimate dedication it took these artists to create such elaborate masterpieces. And once I actually pictured Seurat having a life and relationships (even though they were fictional in the musical) and giving them up to focus on his work, I really appreciated these artists a whole lot more.