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FAH245 - Retreats and Escapes- Symbolism and Primitivism

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Jordan Bear

Paul Gauguin, Port de Javel (1876) - looks like an impressionist painting - This is where Gauguin begins, trys to emulate that style as a young painter at the time the style is popular - Begins to retreat from it later Gauguin, Vision after the Sermon: Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (1888) - Retreat away from the impressionist style begins quite early - Goes to paint peasant life - In the foreground we see women wearing traditional costumes of the region and experiencing some kind of vision based upon a sermon a priest has just given - Do they see the battle between Jacob and the angel? or is it instead something that they see in their minds? is it something experienced visually in reality or in the realm of thought and imagination - That vision is like a thought bubble of cartoons - Already Gauguin is beginning to think about a question central to the period: how do you make external representations of internal experiences? Gauguin, The Yellow Christ, 1889 - Are we looking at genuine scene of the crucifixion? Or are we seeing the crucifixion as a religious tradition? Just a wooden cross-surrounded by women who venerate the religion - Gauguin finds strangeness in even the most traditional subjects - Gauguin, Tahitian Landscape, 1888  goes to the French colony of Tahiti  is extremely disappointed when he arrives, sees that it has already been totally infiltrated by civilization - Gaugin, Tahitiian Women on the Beach (1891)  - Gauguin, Fatata te miti (Near the Sea), 1892  implicit nudity of the women shows the unrestrained way of living - Gauguin, Manao Tupapau (Spectre Watches Over Her), 1892  the woman is his mistress, she is in a trance and being menaced by the strange ghost like image over her body  she is in a very vulnerable pose  picture is of a rejection of western painterly traditions and values  compared to Manet's Olympia, the one depicted is not a European woman, she is a woman of colour, not a mature woman who controls her sexual availability, she is a young girl who is vulnerable and available to a man viewer, her body is flipped over, conceals the areas that Olympia displays to her customers, taking a painting like Olympia and almost physically rotating it. Her body is concealed from us, a kind of reversal, an undermining of Western ways and the traditional ways of articulating that part of society The Jungles of Paris - the images that Rosseau creates are filtered through mass visual culture, he never actually leaves Paris, has a visual familiarity of it Henri Rosseau, Tropical Forest with Monkeys, 1920  the only practical experience with the exotic realms that he painted was very limited  begin to see that these pictures are not the result of imagined conjuring up but of images that are flooding back to Europe  begin to get a sense of where these images came from  sculpture of a gorilla abducting a woman would have been seen by him  to certain extent, its against the rational way of living, the society is becoming mechanized at the time, so of course there is a fascination with the savage and primitive Rousseau, The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on top of the Antelope  painting drawn from a particular source, a di
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