Still Life with a Mandolin (1885; Paris, France) by Paul Gauguin

Still Life with a Mandolin - Paul Gauguin - 1885; Paris, France

Artwork Information

TitleStill Life with a Mandolin
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1885; Paris, France
Dimensions64 x 53 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France

About Still Life with a Mandolin

The artwork “Still Life with a Mandolin” is an oil on canvas painting by the artist Paul Gauguin, created in the year 1885 in Paris, France. This painting is an example of his work during the Impressionist movement, a genre known for its depiction of light and vivid colors. The painting measures 64 x 53 cm and is classified as a still life. It is currently housed in the Musée d’Orsay located in Paris, France.

In “Still Life with a Mandolin,” one observes a rich composition of various objects arranged with a sense of depth and texture. The central focus of the artwork is a lush arrangement of flowers in vibrant shades of white and red, with green foliage enriching the bouquet. They are placed in a dark, ornately patterned vase that contrasts sharply with the colorful petals and leaves. Adjacent to the vase, the mandolin — presumably the genesis of the artwork’s title — lies partially visible, its curves and the strings hinted at in the background, providing a sense of harmony to the composition. The still life is further accented by a round object with a reflective surface, likely a plate, which rests in the foreground, its blue-toned hue complementing the warmer colors of the flowers and adding a cool contrast.

The background is marked by a distinct separation of interior and exterior spaces. To the left, a window opens onto a glimpse of the outdoors, revealing a serene landscape scene that includes trees and sky, offering a juxtaposition between the interior setting of the still life and the world beyond. The brushwork of Gauguin can be appreciated in the variety of textures, from the smoothness of the round plate to the textured appearance of the tabletop and the straw-wrapped vessel in the immediate foreground. In typical Impressionist fashion, the painting plays with light and the immediacy of the captured moment, using quick, visible brushstrokes that imbue the scene with vitality and a particular sense of reality.

Other Artwork from Paul Gauguin

More Impressionism Artwork

Scroll to Top