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When Seurat first exhibited his ‘Bathers at Asnières’ in 1884, it perplexed but fascinated the few critics who noticed it. Today the picture is one of the most famous and popular works in the world. Yet the extraordinary appeal of this painting is not easily defined. In several respects it seems to belong to the world of the Impressionists, with its luminous color and lively brushwork evoking the hot, hazy atmosphere of a summer afternoon. By contrast, the gravity of the figures and the ordered serenity of the composition place it within the classical tradition, echoing both the rigor of the Academy and the grandeur of Poussin or Puvis de Chavannes. In ‘Seurat and the Bathers’ the authors discuss the various choices Seurat made with regard to subject, format, and technique in preparing this monumental painting.