Hail Mary (Ia Orana Maria) (c.1893 – c.1895) by Paul Gauguin

Hail Mary (Ia Orana Maria) - Paul Gauguin - c.1893 - c.1895

Artwork Information

TitleHail Mary (Ia Orana Maria)
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Datec.1893 - c.1895
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art (Met), New York City, NY, US

About Hail Mary (Ia Orana Maria)

The artwork titled “Hail Mary (Ia Orana Maria)” was created by the artist Paul Gauguin, estimated between circa 1893 and 1895. It is executed in charcoal as the medium and is a part of the Post-Impressionism movement. Classified as a genre painting, this piece is located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, United States.

The artwork presents a central female figure dressed in a long garment ornamented with patterns that resemble simplified floral or avian motifs. Her pose is static and solemn, and she is adorned with a delicate halo, suggesting a representation of the Virgin Mary. A smaller, naked childlike figure is perched on her shoulder, perhaps an embodiment of the Christ child, also displaying a halo. This could be an interpretation of the Annunciation or a reverent depiction of the Madonna and Child.

In the background, there are two figures that appear to be paying homage or prayer to the central scene. The setting is somewhat vague, but the inclusion of lush foliage and exotic plant life indicates a tropical environment, which aligns with Gauguin’s well-known excursions and artistic inspirations from regions such as Tahiti. The distinctive use of local iconography and color suggests Gauguin’s intent to integrate the traditions and aesthetics of the areas he explored with Western religious themes. The stark contrasts, the use of halos, and the posture of the figures convey a sense of sacredness, indicative of Gauguin’s symbolist influences that permeated his work during this period.

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