Paul Gauguin - The Vision after the Sermon. Jacob wrestling with the Angel 1888

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Paul Gauguin - The Vision after the Sermon. Jacob wrestling with the Angel 1888

The Vision after the Sermon. Jacob wrestling with the Angel 1888
74x93cm oil/canvas
National Galleries of Scotland
The image is only being used for informational and educational purposes

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From National Galleries of Scotland :
This painting, which dates from 1888 and was made in Pont-Aven, Brittany, is one of Gauguin's most famous works. The Breton women, dressed in distinctive regional costume, have just listened to a sermon based on a passage from the Bible. Genesis (32:22-32) relates the story of Jacob, who, after fording the river Jabbok with his family, spent a whole night wrestling with a mysterious angel. In a letter the artist wrote to Van Gogh he said 'For me the landscape and the fight only exist in the imagination of the people praying after the sermon.'

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The use of color, shape, and line in Vision after the Sermon was a truly new and unique way to handle paint. Finding inspiration from Japanese woodblock prints from Hiroshige and Hokusai, which he owned, he developed the idea of non-naturalistic landscapes. He introduced the harsh reds, blacks, and whites into this painting instead of showing the actual color of the image. Even with the figures he experiments with the distortion of shape, exaggerating features and using strong contour lines instead gradual shifts in tone that most painters of this time used. The colors appear to be flat and solid, not showing very much depth, if any at all. Gauguin was trying to move away from the natural colors and ideas and move towards painting how he saw the world. The color, structure, and style of Gauguin's paintings was due to his inspiration of the Japanese prints.
Right in the middle of the image is a randomly placed tree that appears to be starting nowhere and ending nowhere. It is splitting the painting in half; creating a divide between the Breton women and Jacob battling the angel. This compositional decision also frames the main subjects of the painting. The curve in the middle part of the trunk follows the same line in the head of the most prominent nun, bringing her to attention before the rest. And where the leaves begin, they shoot out directly towards the upper right corner of the painting putting a second frame around the struggle happening with Jacob.The perspective of this painting is also purposely skewed.
“Further, it was Emile Bernard who pointed out the general influence of Japanese prints on Gauguin’s work. This seems self-evident when one compares Gauguin’s Vision after the Sermon to Vincent van Gogh’s Trees, a copy after Hiroshige, with its diagonally placed tree and use of red. In citing Hokusai’s Sumo wrestlers in The Manga, however, Bernard was being more specific. He designated them as the source of Gauguin’s struggling angel and Jacob”. One can see their features, in the faces, of the women that are closer to the viewer. The scene is depicting a story from the bible in which Jacob is wrestling with the Angel. Gauguin was trying to use Brenton themes which focused on leaning towards abstraction. The women are dressed in very different white hats and seem to be the ones who have the vision that is shown in the painting. There are several colors that stand out above the rest, including the reds, black, and white; which may be a message from the artist about the grim nature of this painting. The color that would most likely catch the viewer's attention the most in this painting would be red, which in this particular painting represents the struggle that is occurring.