Vision of the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel)

Vision of the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel), 1888, Paul Gauguin
Vision of the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel), 1888, Paul Gauguin

This painting, which dates from 1888 and was made in Pont-Aven, Brittany, is one of Gauguin's most famous works. The Breton women, dressed in distinctive regional costume, have just listened to a sermon based on a passage from the Bible. Genesis (32:22-32) relates the story of Jacob, who, after fording the river Jabbok with his family, spent a whole night wrestling with a mysterious angel. In a letter the artist wrote to Van Gogh he said 'For me the landscape and the fight only exist in the imagination of the people praying after the sermon.'

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