Que Seurat, Seurat

(‘Whatever Seurat is, Seurat is’, that is, ‘Seurat is what he is’. That’s with English que /ke/, as in “Que Sera, Sera”.)

A photo by Elizabeth Zwicky on Facebook on the 14th:

(#1) Boston harbor; the orange bit is a reflection of a construction crane

In the photo (of ripples in water, with reflected points of sunlight), Ellen Evans, on Facebook, saw life imitating art, in this case, Seurat’s pointillism, and I agreed, hence the title of this posting. Robert Coren suggested Monet, and that’s not impossible, but a pointillist painter is a better fit.

The art. From my 11/30/16 posting “Poet in search of his moose”, #4 Barry Kites’s collage “Sunday Afternoon, Looking for the Car”:

On the background painting, from Wikipedia:

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (French: Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte) painted in 1884, is one of Georges Seurat’s [1859-1891] most famous works, and is an example of pointillism.

The original:

(#2)

Note the water. Water figures prominently is a great many pointillist paintings. Here’s Paul Signac‘s Steeple in Saint Tropez, 1896:

(#3)

On the technique, from Wikipedia:

Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.

Georges Seurat and Paul Signac developed the technique in 1886, branching from Impressionism. The term “Pointillism” was coined by art critics in the late 1880s to ridicule the works of these artists, and is now used without its earlier mocking connotation. The movement Seurat began with this technique is known as Neo-impressionism.

… The technique relies on the ability of the eye and mind of the viewer to blend the color spots into a fuller range of tones. [“Don’t stand, don’t stand so, / Don’t stand so close to me”]

In comparison to Seurat and Signac, a representative Monet:

(#4) Blue Water Lilies, 1919

From Wikipedia:

Water Lilies (or Nymphéas, French) is a series of approximately 250 oil paintings by French Impressionist Claude Monet (1840–1926). The paintings depict Monet’s flower garden at his home in Giverny, and were the main focus of Monet’s artistic production during the last thirty years of his life.

Monet’s water ripples are achieved by short brushstrokes, not dots.

The song. And, especially, its title. From Wikipedia:

(#5) Listen to Doris Day singing the song here

“Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)”, first published in 1956, is a popular song written by the songwriting team of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. The song was introduced in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), starring Doris Day and James Stewart in the lead roles.

… The popularity of the song has led to curiosity about the origins of the saying and the identity of its language. Both the Spanish-like spelling used by Livingston and Evans and an Italian-like form (“che sarà sarà”) are first documented in the 16th century as an English heraldic motto. The “Spanish” form appears on a brass plaque in the Church of St. Nicholas, Thames Ditton, Surrey, dated 1559. The “Italian” form was first adopted as a family motto by either John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, or his son, Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford. It is said by some sources to have been adopted by the elder Russell after his experience at the Battle of Pavia (1525), and to be engraved on his tomb (1555 N.S.). The 2nd Earl’s adoption of the motto is commemorated in a manuscript dated 1582. Their successors — Earls and, later, Dukes of Bedford (“Sixth Creation”), as well as other aristocratic families—continued to use the motto. Soon after its adoption as a heraldic motto, it appeared in Christopher Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus (written ca. 1590; published 1604), whose text (Act 1, Scene 1) contains a line with the archaic Italian spelling “Che sera, sera / What will be, shall be”. Early in the 17th century the saying begins to appear in the speech and thoughts of fictional characters as a spontaneous expression of a fatalistic attitude.

The saying is always in an English-speaking context, and has no history in Spain, Italy, or France, and in fact is ungrammatical in all three Romance languages. It is composed of Spanish or Italian words superimposed on English syntax. It was evidently formed by a word-for-word mistranslation of English “What will be will be”

Side note. It seems there are programs for altering photographs to make them appear pointillist, giving output like this:

(#6) Relatively simple pointillization

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