In twenty-five years Gauguin painted no fewer than forty selfportraits, which form a key strand of his oeuvre. Self-portrait with Yellow Christ was produced during a stay in Brittany. Here the artist greets us with a serious, cool expression, the right half of his face bathed in shadow. Behind him, the background
is strikingly divided into two halves containing two very different works by Gauguin. On the left is the groundbreaking painting The Yellow Christ, which dates from the same period as this self-portrait and is also displayed in this room. It is reproduced in reverse because Gauguin painted his portrait in front of a mirror. The life of Christ and the events of the Passion were themes that Gauguin explored intensively in his art, and Christ’s body and arm here frame the artist’s head in a protective gesture. Behind Gauguin
on the right is a stoneware jug, modeled by the artist in the style of Peruvian face urns. In the combination of these two works, Gauguin portrays himself in front of his most important sources of inspiration: the Christian culture of the West and the religions and art of non-European civilizations.
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