The Yellow Christ


In Paul Gauguin’s The Yellow Christ we see a group of Breton peasant women mourning or praying at the feet of a yellow colored figure of Christ hanging on a rugged wooden cross.  The landscape surrounding them, also painted in yellow and orange tones, is set in nineteenth century northern France.  Gauguin broke from the traditional historical views of Christ’s crucifixion to create this symbolic piece of art. 

The bold lines that define the figures and the flat planes and intense bold uniform colors show Gauguin’s early work and synthetist style of painting.  He used spatial scrambling to depict near and far.  The Yellow Christ was painted in Pont-Aven in 1889.  He drew on a seventh century wood sculpture that hung in the Tremalo Church near Pont-Aven to create this work.  He had given up his work with Impressionism and was trying out this new theory of synthetism.

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