Idol (1898; Punaauia, French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Idol - Paul Gauguin - 1898; Punaauia, French Polynesia

Artwork Information

ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1898; Punaauia, French Polynesia
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationHermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

About Idol

The artwork entitled “Idol” was crafted by the artist Paul Gauguin in 1898 during his time in Punaauia, French Polynesia. This piece is executed in oil on canvas and represents the Cloisonnism movement, specifically categorized as a still life. It is housed in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Examining the artwork, one observes a vividly colored composition that features a central figure, which appears to be a representation of a Polynesian idol or deity, set against a tropical backdrop. The figure has conspicuous facial features and an expression that draws immediate attention. Its seated pose conveys a sense of stillness and permanence, juxtaposed with the vibrant, life-filled setting around it.

Gauguin’s signature use of bold outlines and flat areas of color is evident, traits that are characteristic of the Cloisonnism style. The background displays a lush landscape with elements of exotic flora. The color palette is rich and varied, with warm tones that evoke the heat and vibrancy of the Polynesian environment. Despite the title indicating a still life, the artwork is also resonant with narrative potential, hinting at cultural and spiritual dimensions of the place that inspired Gauguin.

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