Paul Gauguin - Day of the Gods 1894

Day of the Gods 1894
Day of the Gods
1894 68x91cm oil/canvas
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

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From Art Institute of Chicago:
Day of the God is one of a small number of paintings of Tahitian subjects that Paul Gauguin made in France between his stays in the South Pacific. An imaginary rather than realistic depiction of the South Seas, it is dominated by an idol of the goddess Hina. To the right of her, women dance the upaupa, a suggestive ancient Tahitian dance that missionaries and colonial authorities tried to suppress. In a middle ground of pink sand sits a female bather flanked by ambiguously gendered figures lying on their sides. Although the arrangement of this trio seems symbolic—perhaps of birth, life, and death—Gauguin made its exact meaning an enigma.