The moment of truth II (1893; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

The moment of truth II - Paul Gauguin - 1893; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleThe moment of truth II
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1893; French Polynesia
Dimensions54.6 x 32 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationAteneum, Helsinki, Finland

About The moment of truth II

The artwork titled “The moment of truth II” by Paul Gauguin is a notable piece from 1893, created during his time in French Polynesia. This oil on canvas work is a part of the Post-Impressionism movement and measures 54.6 by 32 cm. It falls under the landscape genre and is housed in the Ateneum in Helsinki, Finland.

The artwork vividly captures a scene that is rich in color and imbued with the essence of French Polynesia. Gauguin’s characteristic use of bold hues and stylized forms is evident in this painting. The foreground features two figures set against a lush tropical backdrop. One figure, possibly a native woman, is seated, attending to a task which produces smoke, suggesting a traditional activity such as cooking. The other figure, a man, stands with his back to the viewer, facing the vibrant foliage, holding what appears to be red flowers, contributing to the dynamic color scheme of the piece.

In the background, there is a thatched-roof structure that anchors the scene and provides a sense of place. The greenery surrounding the figures is depicted with wide strokes and a variety of greens, contrasting sharply with the warm tones of the red and orange leaves that dominate the upper portion of the painting. The sky is treated with a dark hue, allowing the brighter elements of the composition to stand out. Overall, the painting captures a moment of everyday life, imbued with the exotic allure and mystique that places like French Polynesia held for European artists at the time.

Gauguin’s Post-Impressionistic approach, moving away from the naturalistic depiction of light and color, aims to convey an emotional response to the subject, driven by his experiences and impressions of the island’s culture and landscapes. This piece, with its simplified forms and expressive color palette, reveals Gauguin’s ongoing exploration of symbolism and the use of art to express ideas beyond the visible world.

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