Scene from Tahitian Life (1896) by Paul Gauguin

Scene from Tahitian Life - Paul Gauguin - 1896

Artwork Information

TitleScene from Tahitian Life
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Dimensions89 x 124 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationHermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

About Scene from Tahitian Life

The artwork titled “Scene from Tahitian Life” was created in 1896 by the artist Paul Gauguin. It is an oil painting on canvas, measuring 89 by 124 centimeters, and it falls within the Post-Impressionism movement. The genre of the painting is classified as mythological, capturing elements of the culture and lifestyle in Tahiti. Gauguin’s piece is currently housed in the Hermitage Museum located in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The artwork depicts a vivid scene set in Tahiti with a group of figures engaged in various activities. In the foreground, we see three women standing parallel, progressively receding into the picture plane, and a dog that appears to be moving. The women are dressed in traditional garments and seem to be observing or waiting. To their left, there is a man leaning forward with an extended arm, who appears to be in the midst of an action, such as a dance or some kind of interaction with the environment. Behind this group, more figures can be seen: a couple of them are sitting and one looks as if they are climbing a tree. The background is filled with lush, dark foliage, indicative of the dense, tropical setting.

The color palette is rich with earthy tones, and Gauguin uses strong outlines and flat areas of color to create a sense of depth and harmony within the composition. The figures are stylized, reflecting Gauguin’s departure from the naturalistic representation and his embrace of symbolism and the simplification of form characteristic of Post-Impressionist work. This painting captures an essence of the idyllic and mythic qualities that Gauguin associated with Tahitian life, an expression of his desire to present an unspoiled culture untouched by Western industrialization.

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