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Self-Portrait
1889
oil on wood
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Chester Dale Collection

This self-portrait was painted as one of a pair; the second picture is a portrait of Gauguin's friend, the Dutch artist Meijer de Haan. The two were painted on doors flanking a fireplace in the dining room at the inn where the artists were then lodging in Brittany. In this painting, Gauguin represents himself as deeply divided, at once innocent and sinful. The halo suggests an angel, and is echoed by the swaths of golden yellow below, resembling wings, while the snake between his fingers and the tantalizing apples evoke temptation and the fall of man.

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