After returning from Tahiti to France in 1893, Gauguin’s poor mental state and physical well-being coupled with his desperate financial problems, significantly obstructed his painting in the coming years.
Gauguin only painted 16 pieces during 1984. Day of the God was one of these.The contrasting hues, flat surfaces and abstract shapes were typical of Gauguin’s style.
The piece portrays Tahitian people on a beach during a religious ritual. Within the picture there are natives dancing and carrying food for a possible offering to Hina and playing instruments and celebrating.
The painting shows the Tahitian goddess Hina in the heart of the picture. The three woman at the water’s edge possibly embody the three stages of life.
The woman to the left in a fetal position with her toes barely touching the water is to represent birth and the beginning of life, the woman sat upright with her feet in the water represents living and the woman to the right completely out of the water represents death.
The water in the painting represents life in its entirety. Gauguin was once quoted saying “Don't paint too much direct from nature. Art is an abstraction.
Study nature then brood on it and treasure the creation which will result, which is the only way to ascend towards God - to create like our Divine Master” Gauguin was inspired and effected by the Tahitian beliefs and used his art to convey this.
By not clearly emphasizing the “point” of the painting it can be interpreted anyway the viewer wishes resulting in them taking something unique away from it.
Day of the God is currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois.