The Vision After the Sermon (1888) by Paul Gauguin

The Vision After the Sermon - Paul Gauguin - 1888

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Vision After the Sermon
ArtistPaul Gauguin
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions74.4 x 93.1 cm
Art MovementSynthetism
Current LocationScottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
Location Created Pont-aven, France

About The Vision After the Sermon

“The Vision After the Sermon,” a religious painting by Paul Gauguin created in 1888, is an embodiment of the Synthetism art movement. The artwork, an oil on canvas with dimensions of 74.4 x 93.1 cm, was brought into existence in Pont-Aven, France, and is currently housed at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, UK.

The artwork presents a vivid narrative juxtaposing the physical world with a visionary experience. Breton women, distinguishable by their white head coverings, are seen congregating after a sermon. Their gaze is directed away from the viewer, focusing on the vision that unfolds in the upper section of the canvas. Here, a biblical scene, possibly the wrestling match between Jacob and the angel, takes place against a striking, unnaturally red background, signifying the visionary aspect of the event.

Gauguin’s use of bold, flat colors and simplified forms reflects his Synthetist approach, aiming to express ideas and emotions rather than to depict the world realistically. The vibrant red field not only segregates the mundane from the divine but also invokes a sense of emotional intensity and spiritual fervor. The interplay between the physical presence of the devout women and the transcendent event they envision highlights the contrast between the tangible and the spiritual, a common theme in Gauguin’s work.

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