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.
- Paul Gauguin
- Mahana no atua (Day of the God)
- Oil on linen canvas
- 68 × 91 cm (26 7/8 × 36 in.)
- Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection