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Painting, 1885, 65.2×54.3 cm

Description of the artwork «Self-portrait»

During his not very long life Paul Gauguin many self-portraits. On most of them it appears some Buccaneer, rebel, "savage", as he liked to call it (1, 2, 3). He gives the character the face of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane and later writes self-portrait with halo. This painting is an early work of Paul Gauguin. It was written in 1885, shortly after he (in part because of the financial crisis in Europe) made the final decision to become an artist.

Judging by the light and sloping wooden beams, the artist painted this self portrait in the attic in front of the mirror (as evidenced by the fact that in the picture Gauguin painted himself left-handed). It works in a coat, the floors which smelled firmly on his chest, and it suggests that this occurred in the cold season. On this canvas the artist, in spite of recognizable features, looks not at all like most self-portraits. He seems tired, under the eyes lay deep shadows. In addition, this painting differs from the other unusual angle and slipping in the side view (on most self-portraits Gauguin portrayed himself in approximately the same position, and his eyes often a quizzical look directly at the viewer from under heavy half-closed eyelids).

Modern research this self-portrait helped to identify significant changes that Gauguin was subjected to the cloth as you go. Using infrared and x-rays found out that the original artist painted his face in profile, by posting on the wall in the background image of his other works. And only in the final version of the painting Gauguin launched himself to face the viewer. It is possible that he thus combined in one work the idea of two different self-portraits, not being able to write them both because of financial difficulties.

Author: Eugene Sidelnikov
from 1450 rub
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Impressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1885

Size: 65.2×54.3 cm

Artwork in selections: 13 selections

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