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Georges Seurat’s painting of a Sunday afternoon in Paris appears, at first glance, to celebrate the carefree hours of a series of well-to-do families.

Every form is made up of thousands of dots and dashes. Seurat worked on the painting over several years in the second half of the 1880s, building up the painting in careful layers to establish this tremulous effect.

The scene takes place on a mile-long island on the river banks of the Seine (check out art classes in Paris) known as La Grande Jatte.

Doused in sunshine, yet taking shade beneath trees and umbrellas, the visitors to the island rest and stroll with an unhurried air. It was a favourite pleasure-spot of the Parisian bourgeois, a place to retreat from the bustle of the working week and the pollution of the city.

Georges Seurat shared many of the same interests as his contemporary artists. Yet, whilst other Impressionists and Post-Impressionists worked with an unplanned spirit, Seurat took a more meticulous approach, both in the planning of his compositions and the application of his paint.

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