The Moon and the Earth, Gauguin

The Moon and the Earth, Gauguin
The Moon and the Earth, Gauguin

On certain occasions some of the most outstanding painters of all time, have made trips that changed the course of their painting and their artistic style -see for example the case of Velázquez with his trips to Rome- however, If we have to highlight a painter whose travels influenced his way of painting, that would be without a doubt Paul Gauguin; and it is that the post-impressionist artist made some of the best paintings of him after his travels. In fact, Gauguin's painting would never be the same after traveling to Tahiti.

Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903) is one of the most outstanding artists of the Post-Impressionist style and without a doubt, the painter who has most influenced the later artistic avant-gardes since as an inspiration different artistic movements such as fauvism or expressionism were born from his brushes. However, Gauguin was not exactly a painter to use; his artistic career did not start at an early age but when he already had a family and a military career that he would abandon to pursue his dream of being an artist. After different trips and multiple residences – the artist had already lived in Paris, Brittany together with Van Gogh, he had traveled to Martinique…- Gauguin arrived in Tahiti at the beginning of the nineties. From the beginning Tahitian culture envelops the artist in such a way that, for the first time in his life, Gauguin feels that he has found his place in the world.


On this occasion we analyze a work painted in 1893, the fruit of that first trip to Tahiti. The work is currently exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in USA and it is a piece of vertical format and small dimensions - it is only one meter ten high and just over sixty centimeters wide - and it is done in oil on canvas.

The artisthas based on Tahitian mythologyrepresented on his canvas two of the most prominent deities, The Moon and The Earth or Hina and Fatou. It is a passage collected in the book Noa Noa in which the Moon asks Fatou to make men immortal but he refuses. Hina appears from behind and is represented as a naked woman who whispers in the ear of the god Fatou, of whom only her face can be seen, represented in the celestial sphere. Fatou is an implacable god who does not give in to the pleas of the Moon. She instead is depicted as a sweet woman who is associated with fertility and rebirth.

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