The milkmaid (1889; France) by Paul Gauguin

The milkmaid - Paul Gauguin - 1889; France

Artwork Information

TitleThe milkmaid
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1889; France
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About The milkmaid

The artwork titled “The Milkmaid” was crafted by the artist Paul Gauguin in the year 1889 in France. This piece is executed on canvas using tempera as the medium. It is associated with the Cloisonnism movement, a style marked by bold and flat forms separated by dark contours, similar to cloisonnĂ© enamel work. The genre of this painting is genre painting, which depicts scenes from everyday life. As of the latest information available, “The Milkmaid” is held in a private collection.

Upon examining the artwork, one observes a young milkmaid attentively engaging in her work. She is portrayed with long, flowing red hair that cascades down her shoulder, providing a stark contrast to her light-colored blouse and striped skirt. The figure is positioned against a pastoral backdrop, capturing her in the act of milking a cow that dominates the right side of the canvas. Her posture, with her back slightly bent towards the task at hand, conveys a sense of quiet diligence.

The composition features distinctly outlined forms and areas of flat, unmodulated color, emblematic of the Cloisonnism technique that Gauguin and other artists of his era explored. A second cow, resting in the foreground, adds depth to the rural scenery, marked by muted yet harmonious colors. The tranquility of the scene is encapsulated by the placid body language of the milkmaid and the cows, evoking the simplicity and timelessness of rural life.

Beyond its visual qualities, the painting serves as a narrative window into the quotidian tasks of the countryside, preserving a moment of interaction between the milkmaid and the livestock she tends—a snapshot of the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature.

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