The Yellow Christ (Le Christ jaune) (1889) by Paul Gauguin

The Yellow Christ (Le Christ jaune) - Paul Gauguin - 1889

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Yellow Christ (Le Christ jaune)
ArtistPaul Gauguin
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions92 x 73 cm
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationAlbright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, US
Location Created Pont-aven, France

About The Yellow Christ (Le Christ jaune)

The artwork “The Yellow Christ” is an allegorical painting by Paul Gauguin, created in 1889. This oil on canvas embodies the Cloisonnism art movement, with its vivid, flat areas of color and bold outlines. Measuring 92 by 73 centimeters, the artwork is exhibited at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, United States. Gauguin crafted this piece in Pont-Aven, France, during a period that was crucial in his development as a post-impressionist artist.

The artwork presents a crucified Christ colored in yellow, harmonizing with the predominantly yellow and gold tones of the surrounding landscape, effectively blurring the boundary between the sacred figure and the earthly setting. The figure of Christ is stylized with elongated limbs and simplified forms, as seen in other works of Gauguin influenced by non-Western art. This choice of color and deliberate abstraction suggests a more symbolic representation rather than a purely realistic one.

In the background, the Breton landscape features rural scenes with rolling hills dotted by trees and structures, rendered in tones that evoke the season of autumn. This setting may be interpreted as an integration of the crucifixion into the contemporary world known to Gauguin, rather than placing it in a distant, biblical past.

In the foreground, three Breton women, dressed in traditional clothing, are seated with their backs towards the viewer, contemplating the crucifixion. The women are depicted with a sense of stillness and reverence, characterized by the use of solid, simple shapes and muted colors that further emphasize the spirituality and stillness of the scene.

Overall, “The Yellow Christ” amalgamates religious symbolism with the artist’s personal vision, drawing on the cultural landscape of Brittany and the stylistic influences that would define Gauguin’s approach to modern art. This combination results in a piece that is as much about the expression of color and form as it is about conveying a deeper allegorical meaning.

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