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Ia Orana Maria (Hail Mary). Paul Gauguin

Oil on canvas
44 3/4 x 34 1/2 in. (113.7 x 87.6 cm)

New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Credit Line: Bequest of Sam A. Lewisohn, 1951
Accession Number: 51.112.2


Ia Orana Maria (Gegrüßt seist du, Maria). Paul Gauguin

1891, Öl auf Leinwand, 113,7 × 87,67 cm
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art


Ia Orana Maria (original title in Tahitian normalized Ia ora na Mary) Ave Maria, is a painting by Paul Gauguin made ​​in 1891 during his first stay in Tahiti. Preserved at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. is known for the model no. 428 Wildenstein catalog.

It represents the scene of the Annunciation with the reasons moved to Tahiti. The title, in case highlighted in a yellow box (and Orana Maria), refers to the greeting of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. 'Ia ora na Tahitian is a usual greeting, and "Ia ora na Mary is the prayer of the Hail Mary. However, the presence of the Christ Child could be an evocation of the Adoration of the Shepherds.

Gauguin describes it in a letter, in addition to make a sketch:
Letter to Daniel Monfreid, March 11, 1892

"An angel wings yellow indicates two Tahitian women Mary and Jesus also Tahitians. Naked wearing sarong, cotonada kind of flowers that tied at the waist as you want. Fund mountain very shady trees and flowers. Way foreground dark purple and emerald green; left some bananas. I am quite satisfied. "

The inhabitants of the district Mataeia where Gauguin had settled, were Catholics while the rest of the island were mostly Protestants. Gauguin had been interested in syncretism between traditional religion and Christianity, and it represents the way. Two Tahitian Women in attitude of prayer watch Mary and the Child Jesus crowned with a halo. Behind an angel with wings. The figure of Mary stands to be bigger and red. Big feet and faces with very sharp features, highlights the primitive figures. The landscape is lush and rich in color. The presence of exotic fruits in the foreground are offering a pagan Christian. The position of the child collibè on a shoulder of the mother is strange and unlikely.

According to Mr. Mothe, the central figure resembles his wife, Marie Henry, owner of the Buvette de la Plage in Le Pouldu (Brittany), where Gauguin had stayed in 1890 The two figures on the left are copied from a photograph of the relief of Borobudur Buddhist temple on the island of Java, that represents the meeting of the three monks and Buddha on the road to Benares. the figure with blue sarong returned to play in the foreground Parau Parau (1892) and Haere Pape (1892). The central figure was made in zincografia distributed in the magazine épreuve: Album Art March 1895.

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