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Swineherd, Brittany - Painting the Simplicity and Originality


Swineherd, Brittany

Paul Gauguin
Oil on canvas
73 x 93 cm 
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

Brittany is a peninsula in northwestern France. Gauguin traveled to this area and was attracted by the simplicity of the countryside and the beauty of the untouched landscape, so he created this work in an attempt to express this love and reverence for the wilderness. Although this is a landscape that the artist saw with his own eyes, there are many colors on the canvas that do not correspond to reality. Purple, orange and red trees, purple-brown mountains, pink and light blue rocks, and orange piglets all reflect a period of artistic metamorphosis for Gauguin at this time.

Although certain brushstrokes and details of the paintings still retain the characteristics of Impressionism, the overall style of the painting is very individualized, a new artistic theory derived from the artist's desire to express his artistic life and inner thoughts. On this basis, Gauguin's vision was no longer objective and realistic but abstract, autonomous and vital. He made his paintings like glaze, in which all colors existed independently on a flat surface with black contour lines, and the flat color surfaces were separated and opposed to each other. Space and depth were no longer important, and the unity of form and color was the primary goal pursued by the painter.

From an objective point of view, the crimson cow is also unrealistic, but in order to express the painter's subjective intention through color, Gauguin would develop this new style of painting further and further. The Swineherd is dressed in blue and purple, and his posture is casual and relaxed, without the sense of toil of people at the bottom of society, which is precisely the peaceful atmosphere the painter wanted to express.

The houses with white walls and blue roofs behind the Swineherd are set at the foot of the mountain and among the trees, grass and rocks, without any neatness. They are built according to the mountain and follow the trend, more in line with the original arrangement of nature.

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