La Orana Maria (Hail Mary), 1891


Before Gauguin took a series of pictures inspired by Polynesian religious beliefs, he dedicated his first large Tahitian canvas to a Christian theme and described it in a letter dated March 1892: "An angel with yellow wings reveals Mary and Jesus, Tahitians in pareus clothes, a kind of cotton cloth printed with flowers that can be draped from the waist. Very gloomy, mountainous background and flowering trees. A dark purple path and an emerald green foreground with bananas on the left. I'm pretty happy with that . " Gauguin based much of the composition on a photograph he owned of a bas-relief sculpture in Borobudur's Javanese temple.

Paul Gauguin | La Orana Maria (Hail Mary)