Pastor Mason Beecroft, 01/11/2009
A large tryptych painted by the French artist, Paul Gaugin (go-GAN), hangs in the Boston Museum of Art. On these three panels, Gauguin attempted to pull together all the styles of his art, thus serving as a grand summation of his life and work. The first panel focused on the beginning of life. The middle panel portrayed the daily life of young adulthood. In the final group, according to the artist, ‘an old woman approaching death appears reconciled and resigned to her thoughts;’ at her feet, ‘a strange white bird…represents the futility of words.’ Human birth, life, and death are the subject of his life’s masterpiece. Then, in a remarkably shocking move, Gauguin scrawled across the top corner of the painting, “Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going?” He did not know the answers to these questions. Life appeared pointless. Consequently, his life and his art were bereft of meaning and significance. Shortly after completing the work, Gauguin unsuccessfully attempted to take his own life…..
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