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Mahana no atua (Day of the God)

Brightly colored painting of a medium-skinned nude woman sitting on pink sand with her feet in a multicolored body of water, flanked by two nude figures resting in the fetal position. Behind them is a deity scupture and individuals carrying objects, dancing, and swimming.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Brightly colored painting of a medium-skinned nude woman sitting on pink sand with her feet in a multicolored body of water, flanked by two nude figures resting in the fetal position. Behind them is a deity scupture and individuals carrying objects, dancing, and swimming.

Date:

1894

Artist:

Paul Gauguin
French, 1848-1903

About this artwork

Day of the God is one of a small number of paintings of Tahitian subjects that Paul Gauguin made in France between his stays in the South Pacific. An imaginary rather than realistic depiction of the South Seas, it is dominated by an idol of the goddess Hina. To the right of her, women dance the upaupa, a suggestive ancient Tahitian dance that missionaries and colonial authorities tried to suppress. In a middle ground of pink sand sits a female bather flanked by ambiguously gendered figures lying on their sides. Although the arrangement of this trio seems symbolic—perhaps of birth, life, and death—Gauguin made its exact meaning an enigma.

On View

Painting and Sculpture of Europe, Gallery 247

Artist

Paul Gauguin

Title

Mahana no atua (Day of the God)

Origin

France

Date

1894

Medium

Oil on linen canvas

Dimensions

68 × 91 cm (26 7/8 × 36 in.)

Credit Line

Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection

Reference Number

1926.198

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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