Paul Gauguin - Month of Mary. Te avae no Maria 1899

Month of Mary. Te avae no Maria 1899
Month of Mary. Te avae no Maria
1899 97x73cm oil/canvas
Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

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From Hermitage, St. Petersburg:
This painting was produced during Gauguin's second stay in Tahiti (1895-1901). It reveals the artist's impressions of the exotic world of Oceania and ancient oriental cultures, combining a number of different religious elements to create a work of almost mystical solemnity. The yellow colour of the dunes is of particular importance in oriental art, while the woman's pose recalls figures on reliefs in temples on the island of Java. Central to the whole work is the theme of the flowering of nature in spring. In Europe we still celebrate May festivals, essentially derived from ancient pagan rituals celebrating the awakening of nature, while the May festivals of the Catholic Church are devoted to the Virgin Mary. The white of the woman's drapery is a symbol of purity to both Christians and Tahitians. Thus the artist sought to create an image of the essence of primitive life, its natural rhythms embodied in the harmony of lines and colours.