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Finding Faith: The Catholicism of Paul Gauguin

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Lucien de Guise

Lucien de Guise - published on 01/05/20

The French artist's Catholic spirituality influenced his early years.
A series that looks at the visual arts for signs of the universal church in sometimes unexpected places.
At this time of year many are thinking about escaping to the winter sun. The French artist Paul Gauguin thought about little else. His visits to the South Pacific are legendary, as is his interest in the local culture and religions that he found there.

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Lucien de Guise

Less well known is the Catholic spirituality that influenced his early years. The four-meter-high poster at the entrance to his UK National Gallery exhibition reveals much about how the relationship between art and faith is sometimes viewed these days.

Interestingly, the promotion for the exhibition is so focused on Gauguin that the crucified Christ in the background is almost unrecognizable in his cropped, headless form. But it is still there, accompanying the artist.

Despite Gauguin’s growing distaste for his original religious inspiration, his final resting place in French Polynesia was a Catholic cemetery.

Lucien de Guise is on Instagram @crossxcultural. As a Catholic writer, editor, curator and former museum director, his aim is to build bridges through art.

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