Barbarian music (1893; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Barbarian music - Paul Gauguin - 1893; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleBarbarian music
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1893; French Polynesia
Art MovementPost-Impressionism

About Barbarian music

“Barbarian music” is an allegorical painting by French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin, created in 1893 during his time in French Polynesia. The artwork is executed in watercolor on paper, exemplifying the vibrant and experimental qualities of Post-Impressionism, an art movement that sought to extend Impressionism while rejecting its limitations.

The artwork portrays a scene imbued with exoticism and rich color, representing a gathering of figures that appear to be partaking in a musical event. The central figure seems contemplative or engrossed in the music, underscoring Gauguin’s fascination with the spiritual and symbolic qualities of non-Western cultures. The figures are rendered with stylized features and are surrounded by lush, suggestive brushstrokes that allude to a tropical environment. The use of vivid colors and abstract forms reflects Gauguin’s departure from European artistic conventions and his pursuit of a more profound, primitive expression. This piece is emblematic of Gauguin’s oeuvre, which often explored themes of primitivism and the allure of the exotic.

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