The Royal End (1892; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

The Royal End - Paul Gauguin - 1892; French Polynesia

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Royal End
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1892; French Polynesia
Dimensions48 x 75 cm
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationJ. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, US

About The Royal End

The artwork entitled “The Royal End” was created by the artist Paul Gauguin in 1892 during his time in French Polynesia. This oil on canvas measures 48 x 75 cm and is a fine example of the Cloisonnism art movement. Encapsulating a mythological theme, the painting is housed at the J. Paul Getty Museum located in Los Angeles, California, United States.

In “The Royal End,” Gauguin introduces a vivid and somber scene. The perspective is dominated by the profile of a reclining figure, who appears to be in a state of rest or possibly even death, given the title’s implications. Vivid hues, such as deep greens, blues, and contrasting reds, are testament to Gauguin’s signature style derived from the Cloisonnism movement, distinguished by bold outlines and flat areas of color. The ethereal figure lies on a ruddy platform with strikingly white fabric beneath them, adorned by bold red flowers that deliver a poignant accent to the composition.

The background of the artwork presents a mysterious and enigmatic tableau: figures in various poses appear thoughtful or engaged in rituals, and intricate patterns and symbols pervade the setting—a tapestry of cultural motifs and mythical references that evoke the complex spiritual and social landscape of Polynesia. The intertwined characters and inscriptions suggest a narrative beyond the canvas, alluding to larger stories or legends from the local culture.

Gauguin’s work is marked by a dark and complex interplay of foreground and background elements, which draw the viewer into a contemplative exploration of the mythic and the everyday in French Polynesia. The strong outlines, the juxtaposition of warm and cool colors, and the lyrical quality of the forms all serve to create a painting that is haunting, reflective, and richly layered in meaning.

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