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Van Gogh Protestant

Gauguin versus van Gogh

When spiritual differences
prevent artistic communion

Van Gogh Protestant
Anarchie sexuelle, I

The confrontation between Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin revives the war of images of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

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1. The dark against the luminous

Two self-portraits compared

In anticipation of the creation of an artists' community in Arles, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin exchanged their self-portraits, a comparative study of which reveals two radically opposed characters.

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2. The studio in the south

A predictable drama

Paul Gauguin arrived in Arles in October 1888 and taught Vincent his method. The comparative formal analyses of their Alyscamps and Harvest reveal their mutual incomprehension.

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3. Gauguin the Catholic

Cathechism and its influence

An analysis of Paul Gauguin's Vendanges, Eves and Vision after the Sermon reveals an unexpected resonance between the most iconoclastic of modern painters and the traditional Catholic faith taught by Bishop Dupanloup.

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4. The religious paintings of Bernard and Gauguin

A vertigineous gap and misunderstanding


Vincent van Gogh did not accept the religious drift in the work of Paul Gauguin and Émile Bernard in 1888-1890. Gauguin was anticlerical, but his painting was steeped in Catholic culture; a Catholic influence that would later guide the conception of Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?.

Reading Debora Silverman, Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Search for Sacred Art, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000 La correspondance de Paul Gauguin, Victor Merlhès, Fondation Singer-Polignac, 1984

Iconigraphic study

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