Jacob Wrestling with the Angel


Gauguin, Vision of the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel),1888, oil painting, National Galleries of Scotland.

In this innovative painting Gauguin demonstrated his belief that a painting should be a synthesis of remembered experiences and not an immediate experience as the impressionist believed. The Breton women on the left have just heard a sermon on Jacob wrestling with the angel and are envisioning the struggle in front of them. The audience in this shared vision is set apart from the protagonists by the diagonal tree trunk. The background is a flat red field, an abstract expression of the struggle they are envisioning.