About this artwork

This painting, which dates from 1888 and was made in Pont-Aven, Brittany, is one of Gauguin's most famous works. The Breton women, dressed in distinctive regional costume, have just listened to a sermon based on a passage from the Bible. Genesis (32:22-32) relates the story of Jacob, who, after fording the river Jabbok with his family, spent a whole night wrestling with a mysterious angel. In a letter the artist wrote to Van Gogh he said 'For me the landscape and the fight only exist in the imagination of the people praying after the sermon.'

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  • title: Vision of the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel)
  • accession number: NG 1643
  • artist: Paul GauguinFrench (1848 - 1903)
  • gallery: On Loan
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Christianity Post Impressionism Symbolism
  • materials: Oil on canvas
  • date created: 1888
  • measurements: 72.20 x 91.00 cm (framed: 96.00 x 116.70 x 8.30 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1925
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin's highly original paintings profoundly influenced modern art of the twentieth century. Now described as a 'Post-Impressionist', he was inspired to paint by Pissarro, but developed a symbolic style, using colour to express meaning. Traditions in western art and cultures outside Europe influenced his work. Gauguin's taste for travel and new experiences began when, as a child, he left Paris for Peru. In 1883 he abandoned stockbroking to dedicate himself to painting full-time. He painted in Brittany, and in Provence with Van Gogh. Gauguin travelled to Panama and Martinique and settled in Tahiti for several years. He died on the remote Marchese Islands.

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