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Seurat painted this view of the river Seine in the industrial suburb of Courbevoie near Paris, using the pointillist or divisionist technique he had created. Pointillism relies on the scientific theory that colours are stronger if juxtaposed in small dots, rather than being mixed together. The scene shows an island called the Grande Jatte, which Seurat often painted, but the mood is unusually sombre and silent. The isolated human figures add to the sense of melancholy.