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[Music] so we're standing here in the Court oaf galleries in front of Paul Gauguin's Nevermore from 1897 this is one of the paintings that really lives up to our expectations of Gauguin right the classic story that he he was off to Tahiti and this was painted during his second trip he's got a much more complex relationship with Tahiti then I think is often acknowledged i I just loved the idea of googa kind of going off to Tahiti with this idea that he would be finding an untouched civilization and people living freely and naturally without what he saw is sort of the ruining influence of modern society and he got there and it was much more developed and a tourist center and that wasn't at all the case and then he sort of painted it that way anyway it's true and yes he does painted that way but at the same time this is all in many ways a traditional French painting of a nude and so it's it's he's really sort of creating our expectations of a primitive society it's been roughly handled that the colors evoke a sense of a pre-industrial culture you know there's some very radical sort of ways in which he handles paint but at the same time we have a full-length nude reaching across the canvas upon her hip which in some ways is not so distinct from the ways that nudes have been handled in the Academy for many years right but it's not a Venus no I do think there's something kind of ambiguous about the way the nude is portrayed though which may have something to do with that because typically in your academic nudes the woman is very much kind of laid out for the viewers pleasure you know and you can look at her and she's fairly passive and she's fairly exposed and this woman certainly with her face is given a bit more independent presence and she has this sidelong glance perhaps looking back at the people in the background whether they're talking about her or not there's a way that that her right arm comes in front of her chest that's just the kind of protecting of her body and the way that her left hand comes up above her face that draws our eye up to her her head and her sense of her presence and independence in a way that is different than I kind of just looked the flirtatious typical nude that would have been in the Academy it's true in those cases you would not be able to read in to her at all here she has clear intention she's thinking and we can see her thinking we can see her reacting and in her head the contrast with that bright yellow of the pillow right behind her head - I think makes that a spot in the whole painting that really draws your attention very strongly more than perhaps other parts of her body which are contrasted against other dark areas of paint there's really an interest in contour at a very very sort of strong very dark contour so much so that her left leg almost seems like an independent unit that sort of been placed against her body but look at all those curves you know if the bed frame or headboard in the back of the furniture that she's lying on the curve of her back the arabesques on the wallpaper you know there's a lot of flattening decorative forms that I think for Gogan are an effort to remove the figure from an everyday world and place her more in a dreamlike space and when Rachael II when you mentioned the yellow that very bright yellow I'm a citroen yellow that her head is on it made me think that maybe what we're seeing is her dream is is her imaginings on this bed and not that we're looking at a real scene of a woman on a bed but a kind of imaginary space you'll notice that that yellow shows up only again in the clouds and so I think there's something to what you're saying and her feet there's a red that shows up again and the trees in the background and actually that little bit of a trace of a landscape that we see through the window or through the doorway does feel very much almost like an illustration for a children's book I mean it feels very much like a fantasy like a dream it does have a very dreamlike quality and and I think this bird this raven which we assume is connected to the title of the painting never more from the Edgar Allan Poe poem that bird is kind of done in the same way there's a very flattened decorative sort of dreamlike quality to the bird as well almost as though it's kind of one of the pieces of patterning in the wall decoration in the background so there's something really psychological here and something very emotive and something that seems to be getting at a kind of reality that is below the surface this work pulls away our expectations and pulls away even what's visible to us and seems to just try to evoke a kind of internal emotional state exactly and her emotional [Music]