[ARTH 3419] - Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (14 pages long!)

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ARTH 3419
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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October 4, 2016
Arcadia II: A Defiled Eden- Hughes, page 129
Gauguin
Defiled Eden is unconventional because Eden is a place of purity, sanctity, and serenity. How
can Eden be defiled? Gauguin encountered a defiled Eden, and we could argue that Eden
cannot exist anymore because it has been defiled.
Gauguin left Paris to travel to Tahiti, an Eden. He left his family, fortune, and other such
possessions behind. He abandoned all for Tahiti and later found that it was a defiled Eden. He
spent a number of years as a sailor in his youth. He has a rough edge to him and we are put off
by his coarse and crass qualities.
Paul Gauguin Self Portrait (Les Misérables), 1888
Gauguin and Van Gogh met in Paris and decided that they wanted to work together. They
exchange self portraits. Gauguin in this portrait is shifty looking. Bernard is in the upper right
hand corner, and he was also thought to join the two in collaboration.
“I have done a self-portrait… a Jean Valjean (Les Misérables)...”
Gauguin likens himself to Jean Valjean- a figure on the run, misunderstood, suffering. He is a
good man, but clearly understood.
“A Jean Valjean personifying a disreputable Impressionist painter… (it is) absolutely
incomprehensible, it is so abstract
Gauguin says that the painting itself is unable to be understood. He wants the painting to be
seen as incomprehensible.
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Gauguin, Self Portrait with Halo, 1889
Halo over the head of Jean Valjean, which argues that he is an innocent man, but is in direct
contrast with the apples behind his head which argue that there is sin and punishment for the
figure. It nods to the defiled Eden.
Hand holds a serpent and/or a flower stem. Flowers are often symbols of purity (Virgin Mary and
the Annunciation), and the snake alludes to the serpent in the garden.
This is essentially depicting his identity crisis- he is complex and multifaceted. He cannot be
easily defined.
Gauguin and Van Gogh went to see the private collection of a gentleman- Monsieur Bruyas.
Courbet painted this of Monsieur Bruyas.
Courbet, Bonjour Monsieur Courbet, 1854
Gauguin and Van Gogh argued over this painting in the gallery.
Gauguin, Bonjour Monsieur Gauguin, 1889
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