Vision after the sermon | Paul Gauguin | 1888

Vision after the sermon | Paul Gauguin | 1888

Vision after the sermon | Paul Gauguin | 1888

Disappointed by impressionism and realism, Gauguin considered that European art had become very imitative and lacked of the symbolism typical from other cultures like the African and Asian.

Our artist had received influences from different sources: on one hand, he had spent his childhood in Peru and he also had lived in the island of Martinique next to a small community of Indian artists. Both experiences would determine the primitivism of his future paintings, which is, the belief that life was more significant in the societies before modern civilization.

Living in Paris, Gauguin would often visit, next to other painters, the artist community of Pont-Aven, in Brittany, northwest of France. There, he admired the clothing the women wore and seem to be interested in their customs and their simplicity in every day life.

In the canvas Vision after the sermon or Jacob wrestling with the angel, we see these Breton women, in their typical clothing, watching a vision from the bible in which Jacob, in order to receive a blessing from an angel, wrestles against him forcing him to give it. The women in the painting participate together in the vision; some watching curiously and some praying with their eyes shut

Gauguin divides the painting in 2 pictorial planes, through a diagonal tree. This fact is not random: in that time, Paris was influenced by japonism, a way of painting that imitated the simplicity and bidimensionality of Japanese painting; and this also will influence van Gogh’s work.

Vision after a sermon is considered to be the first strictly symbolic painting by Gauguin. The colors are flat and intense and, to separate one from each other, he uses a thick black line; a way of painting typical from the cloissonists.

This painting was thought to become part of the decoration of the church in Pont-Aven but the clergy didn’t like it. So Gauguin had no choice than to send it to Theo van Gogh (the brother of Vincent, an art marchand) to sell it.

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~ by Álvaro Mazzino on August 5, 2010.

3 Responses to “Vision after the sermon | Paul Gauguin | 1888”

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