Fascinating Art of Gauguin Essay

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Fascinating art of Gauguin (1891) One of the most fascinating pieces from the Metropolitan Art Museum’s European collection is Paul Gauguin’s Ia Orana Maria (Hail Mary), (1891). Inspired by Polynesian religious beliefs, this oil on canvas painting depicts the virgin mother and blessed child standing in the gardens of a tropical setting, with two women nudes draped in pareus tied around their waist, this was a common Polynesian dress of its time. There is a yellow winged angel in the background pictured from a rear view. What are interesting about this piece is the subjects, the principal subjects are Mary and the God Child, and however they stand to the left of the painting rather than being the center of the painting with all lines coming to a point on them. In the background are two women hands placed together in a prayer type posture nude from the waist up and centered in the canvas. Behind the women is an angel, the subject here is not facing the viewer but painted facing away from the primary subjects, the vibrant yellow wings give a strong light to the subject similar in color to the halos of the Virgin and Child. Most interesting is the age of the child, not a newborn, rather a toddler of about three to four years old, Night, J. (2005). The Christ child is astride her shoulder firmly held with both hands as if in a playful manner. The two subjects are not facing their adorers but rather seem to be looking at the viewer. Mary’s garment is deep red with floral print, perhaps to signify the blood of Christ; she is standing barefoot in an emerald patch of grass with fruit laid at her feet perhaps gifts of sacrifice. Although many negatively received Gauguin (1848-1903), this piece is a brilliant interpretation of his view of the Tahitian religious practices. Most identifiable is the skin color of the subjects, the layout of the landscape, and the

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