Georges Seurat was one of the most important Post-Impressionist painters to lead the way toward the modern era in art. He is best known for developing pointillism, an exacting and time-consuming technique whereby tiny dots of paint are combined to create a composition. His work is stylized and considered, in complete contrast to the impetuous spontaneity of his precursors and contemporaries, the Impressionists. Seurat had a life-long fascination with optical observations and experiments and taught himself to become a master of color theory and linear structures. On canvas this meant rather than just painting the apparent color or shade of an object, Seurat broke down the individual component colors and placed them in individual tiny dots or dashes so that the eye of the observer would see the overall color, but on closer inspection see each individual color component. His strangely stilted paintings have a quality of stillness about them and are almost photographic in their detail. By the time he died at the age of only 31, Seurat had produced several huge paintings, about 60 smaller ones, numerous studies for his larger paintings plus around 500 drawings. In later years the Surrealists hailed Seurat as an inspirational maverick and a spiritual father to them.