The “Jug in the Form of a Head, Self-portrait” is a glazed stoneware container created by Paul Gauguin in 1889. The artwork portrays the artist himself with closed eyes and a severed ear, suggesting the aftermath of the two traumatic events he experienced. The use of glazed stoneware implies blood that runs down the side of his face, making the artwork stark and brutal.
Gauguin’s self-portraits mirror his preoccupation with self-image and constant transformation. The container is designed in the shape of a “Grotesque Head” and referred to as a “head of Gauguin the savage.” The artwork is among the pieces he created with his student to decorate the dining area of the inn where they stayed in Le Pouldu, near Pont-Aven.
The “Jug in the Form of a Head, Self-portrait” is a profound representation of Gauguin’s personal experiences and his passion for self-expression. The artwork’s theme differs from his other works, which typically depict Tahitian landscapes, people, and mythology. Nevertheless, Gauguin’s “Jug in the Form of a Head, Self-portrait” has become a unique part of his oeuvre and still commands admiration.