The Meal by Paul Gauguin

Today’s painting is The Meal by Paul Gauguin. I’m very happy to talk about Paul Gauguin, one of my favorite artists.


The Meal (The Bananas) by Paul Gauguin, 1891

I love Gauguin’s paintings. What I love the most about his paintings are the bright and rich colors he uses. My favorite Gauguin paintings are from his Tahitian period. Here, Gauguin portrays the Tahitian people in their daily lives. I love how his paintings show these people’s daily lives and how careful and attentive Gauguin is at portraying details.

The Meal, which is also  know as The Bananas, was painted in 1891, during his first Tahitian trip. Gauguin was born and raised in France. Before leaving for Tahiti he lived in Brittany. It’s really interesting to see how the paintings from these two periods are different. The colors in the pre-Haitian period are softer and less intense; Gauguin is not as adventurous in combining colors that would usually clash. Here you can read more about Gauguin’s life and style.

I read this very interesting analysis on The Meal, which made me even more curious about this particular painting. It says that this painting is a combination of two different subjects: a still life in the front of the painting and a portrait of three children in the background. When I first saw the painting I thought Gauguin was trying to portray life on the island. Instead, it seems like Gauguin put these two subjects together just to give an “exotic idea” of Tahitian life. Who can prove this? Who says he was not portraying what was really happening in Tahiti? Well, it seems like it was not common practice for Tahitians to have a meal at the table, so Gauguin probably made up what we see in the painting. Besides this, I also think he was probably still representing what he was used to see at home in France. Gauguin had just arrived in Tahiti when he painted The Meal, so he had not been observing the Tahitian people for a very long time. Therefore, I think he still used a lot of his previous knowledge when he painted. In this particular case, he might have decided to portray people sitting at the table when sharing a meal, because that is what he was used to.

The food that is represented in the still life is fruit. We can see bananas, coconut milk, guava and citrus. I found a recipe that uses two of the ingredients mentioned above: coconut milk and bananas.


Banana and Coconut Milk Sherbet

This is a recipe for a banana and coconut milk sherbet. It looks easy and very refreshing!


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