The Poor Fisherman (1881) by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes

The Poor Fisherman - Pierre Puvis de Chavannes - 1881

Artwork Information

TitleThe Poor Fisherman
ArtistPierre Puvis de Chavannes
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions105.8 x 68.6 cm
Art MovementSymbolism
Current LocationNational Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan
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About The Poor Fisherman

The Poor Fisherman is one of the most iconic pieces of artwork by Pierre Puvis De Chavannes. This painting was first exhibited in the Salon of 1881 and sparked a lively reaction, although it was not promptly purchased by the state until 1887 and is currently housed in Musée d’Orsay. The subject matter of this masterpiece and its style are significantly different from his other artistic triumphs. Critics could not attain comprehension of it due to a lack of traditional proportion, mass, depth and shading.

The Poor Fisherman entails detailed colour work with less detail than those found within his other notable works. Signvis intended for the art to relay a compassionate message towards the human condition, describing their daily plight which bears witness to their desolate future. The painting stands out for its vivid colors, soft and transparent facial expressions that echo despair in an awe-inspiring way.

Upon exhibition, Poor Fisherman received negative response from critics as they failed to understand Signvis’ concept behind the artwork. It nevertheless stands today as a model example of significance art can carry with it in certain issues regarding mankind’s imprecise struggles through everyday existence.

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