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Paul Gauguin: Breton Calvary (Green Christ)

Paul Gauguin 1848 – 1903

Breton Calvary (Green Christ)

oil on canvas (92 × 73 cm) — 1889 Museum Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels

This work is linked to John 19:25

Many towns in Brittany have a calvary at a central spot: a sculpture with a crucifix. Gauguin saw the calvary in Nizon, and copied the women below the cross.

In the foreground is a local woman with a sheep.

In the spirit of symbolism Gauguin did not strive for a realistic depiction. He made a subjective and personal image.

The museum website says this about the work: "Massive simplified shapes, intense, often unrealistic colours, plain compartments outlined by solid lines, allow Gauguin to increase expression and suggestion."

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