What was the inspiration and theme behind his Christ on the Mount of Olives artwork? Christ on the Mount of Olives painting is an artwork created in 1889 in Le Pouldu Brittany by a French religious artist. In this piece, he creates a self-portrait where he paints himself in the place of Christ. The two figures trailing the self-portrait are either soldiers or disciples. These people in the background are faceless, drawing all the attention to the central figure. The oil painting depicts exceptional use of colour to bring out the surroundings and show the emotions. The cool outdoor colours of the surrounding terrain contrast with warm colours used in the self-portrait to ensure focus is on the central figure.
The artwork takes a leftward momentum with the trees and the central figures leaning to the left to show despair and suffering. In Christ on the Mount of Olives painting, Paul explores the suffering of Jesus and the sacrifice for the world's betterment. By using his self-portrait, Paul identifies with the passion of Christ that symbolises his state of despair for being misunderstood and his conviction to become the saviour of modern art. Painting the central figure in the left corner of the canvas with his head bowed in despair intensifies the humiliation and grief. The sizes between the different figures and spaces create a sense of hierarchy. The vertical, dark and lifeless trees create a separation between the realms, life and death, and the fate of Christ and the disciples.
The warm colours used in painting the self-portrait, and clever use of light, highlight Christ's divinity. He appears as a lantern or salvation amidst the despair enveloping the entire canvas. The hair is ablaze with orange and flecks of red, foreshadowing blood spilt for salvation. Paul Gauguin created this art piece when he was emotionally distraught after a failed Paris show. He expresses despair and conviction of sacrificing himself for the betterment of contemporary art despite constant rejection. He created the Christ on the Mount of Olives painting to represent visual art salvation through his suffering.