Baby (Nativity of Tahitian Christ) (1896; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Baby (Nativity of Tahitian Christ) - Paul Gauguin - 1896; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleBaby (Nativity of Tahitian Christ)
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1896; French Polynesia
Dimensions66 x 75 cm
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationHermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

About Baby (Nativity of Tahitian Christ)

The artwork titled “Baby (Nativity of Tahitian Christ)” is a creation by Paul Gauguin, completed in 1896 during his time in French Polynesia. Executed in oil on canvas, it measures 66 by 75 centimeters. This piece exemplifies the Cloisonnism style, characterized by bold outlines and flat areas of color. It is an allegorical painting with profound symbolic significance, and currently, it is housed at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The artwork portrays a serene and intimate scene imbued with cultural and spiritual symbolism. In the foreground, a Tahitian woman sits with her back to the viewer, cradling an infant who can be presumed to be the Christ child. Behind her stands an angel with dark wings, adding a protective and almost mystical quality to the composition. In the middle ground, lying on a bed, is a figure that seems to be resting or perhaps in a state of vulnerability, observed by the figures in the foreground.

The setting appears to be a simple, rustic interior with open walls, allowing a view of the lush tropical landscape outside. The soft, diffused light seems to permeate the scene, enhancing the sense of peacefulness and sanctity. Gauguin’s use of color is rather emblematic of his style, with vivid hues and a warm palette that evokes the tropical climate and exotic locale.

Overall, the painting reflects Gauguin’s fascination with the spiritual life and customs of indigenous Tahitian people. It also illustrates the artist’s intent to transcend traditional European religious imagery by blending it with the local environment and culture, thereby creating a unique piece that bridges diverse worlds and viewpoints.

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