Orana Maria (Hail Maria) (1894; Paris, France) by Paul Gauguin

Orana Maria (Hail Maria) - Paul Gauguin - 1894; Paris, France

Artwork Information

TitleOrana Maria (Hail Maria)
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1894; Paris, France
Art MovementPost-Impressionism

About Orana Maria (Hail Maria)

The artwork “Orana Maria (Hail Maria)” is a creation of Paul Gauguin, an influential figure in the Post-Impressionist movement. Completed in 1894 in Paris, France, the piece is executed in watercolor on paper and can be categorized as an allegorical painting—a genre that conveys its message through symbolic figures and actions.

This work of art portrays a figure that invokes Marian iconography, reflecting Gauguin’s innovative synthesis of different cultural aesthetics and spiritual themes. The central figure is rendered with an ethereal quality, standing in a contemplative pose. The usage of watercolor imbues the artwork with a sense of immediacy and delicacy, the soft washes and translucent effects contributing to a depiction that is both suggestive and poignant.

Behind the figure, one can observe an aura or halo, which underscores the conventional representation of holiness or sanctity associated with religious figures such as the Virgin Mary. The figure’s garment is imbued with warm red hues, perhaps suggesting both earthly and divine love, a duality that Gauguin often explored in his work. The expression on the figure’s face is serene, further alluding to the sense of transcendence and spirituality. The overall composition, with its interplay of color, form, and theme, presents a unique artistic interpretation that is characteristic of Gauguin’s Post-Impressionist approach.

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