Critical Essay on Madame Ginoux in Cafe de la Gare: Paul Gauguin 1888

Paper Type:  Course work
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1103 Words
Date:  2023-02-12


The title to the piece of artwork is a woman in a coffee house, madame Ginoux in the cafe de la Gare in Arles, 1888. More so, the medium of the piece of artwork is primarily a painting. The artist of the painting is Paul Gauguin. The composition of artwork was created back in the year 1888, and the nationality of the artist is Russian. The piece of artwork is presently located in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow. Also, the artwork is open to be viewed by everybody, and the only laid rules and regulations are those that apply to its safety, such as not desisting from touching the artwork.

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The Content of the Artwork

Nonetheless, as summarily stated above, the content of the artwork is principally centered on a woman in a coffee house. Art indisputably covers a very gravitas position in the overall spheres of human living. The history of art can be dated back from the epoch when the history of man started being recorded (Seker, 2016). Principally, the art painting covered in this paper is primarily used to convey a message. The message is about a woman who is seated in a coffee house. The subject matter of the painting is, therefore, about everyday life. Also, the most probable reason of the woman sitting at the table inside the coffee shop is to have a cup of coffee since in her background a group of other people most of whom appear to be men can be seen equally seated around a coffee table.

Formal Elements of the Artwork

The analysis of a piece of artwork is chiefly based on the consideration of several fundamental aspects. The aspects of being considered are the ones referred to as elements of art. Thus, examples of the commonly used elements of art include value, shape, texture, form, perspective, line, space, and color (Ratcliffe, 2019).

Nevertheless, some of these art elements have been used in this design. For instance, the shape has been applied in this painting purposely to enclose the picture. More so, the shape has been used to come up with the shape of the bottle and cup on the table. The art element of the form is as well visible in the design. The form has been used to give the painting its shape and perceived volume. However, though the picture is two-dimensional, still it has been able to achieve a three-dimensional form using perspective and apt modeling and shading techniques (Rivero & Sauvet, 2014).

Besides, color is one of the key formal elements used in the painting design. Color has been used to give the painting hue, which is black, red, blue, white, green, among others. Color has also been applied to the painting to attain colorfulness or vividness that is essentially the painting's color intensity that has been used to a saturation level or effect. Also, color has been used to add value to the painting that has given the painting both a shade and a tint since both black and white colors have been used (Ratcliffe, 2019).

Nevertheless, some formal elements don't come into play much at all. Some of these elements include line, texture, and pattern. For instance, the effect of the formal element of line is to mark a distance between two paths or points. Lines are applied to showcase varying qualities, such as expressions or feelings, contours, and movements. The resultant effect of a pattern in a piece is to design repetitive lines, tones, shapes, and colors. Also, the effect of texture is to describe how something looks or feels principally. For instance, through texture, it is possible to tell if a piece is bumpy, furry, hard, soft, or rough.

The Principles of Composition

The two prime principles of composition used in the piece of art are movement and variety. The principle of movement has been used to create the look and feel the action in the painting. This is primarily to guide the eyes of the viewer throughout the work of art. As for the principle of variety in the picture, it is mainly concerned with contrast or variety. Variety is, therefore achieved in the painting using color, size, and shape.

The primary distinguishing characteristic of the artist is his ability to use gradation in the painting. The artists use gradation in the painting to showcase a series of gradual changes for instance in moving from a large shape of the woman sitting a coffee table to a small shape of the several men sited around a table at the background. Also, the artist pertinently uses balance which is visible in the stability and equilibrium of the painting.

Media Conventions

Besides, certain aspects of this artwork conform to my expectation of the medium. The painting uses tonal values for adjusting and altering its expressive character. For instance, the tone is used in the canvas to create a tranquil atmosphere, a sense of distance and depth, a rhythm within a composition, and an illusion of form (Seker, 2016). These aspects are similar to other works of the same medium.

On the contrary, some aspects of this work are surprising and distinctive but noteworthy. One such aspect is the use of the different approaches of color. The painting uses color as light, mood, movement, tone, and movement. Such an element is distinct but makes the picture outstanding.

Visible Influences

The key influences that I have been able to realize in this work is a profound similarity between the artworks of Gauguin Vincent van Gogh. However, the similarity in the artwork of the early artists is centered on the verity the two artists used were very close together at some point in their lives. Also, I can tell the existence of a significant difference between the work of early artists and present artists. More so, considerable differences exist between the works of artists from different countries, for instance, those from the US and those from Europe. Mainly, the differences are brought about by the past and present cultural differences (Ratcliffe, 2019).


Ratcliffe, J. (2019). Recovering Stolen Artworks: A Practical Approach. The Palgrave Handbook on Art Crime, 237-251. doi:10.1057/978-1-137-54405-6_11

Ratcliffe, J. (2019). Recovering Stolen Artworks: A Practical Approach. The Palgrave Handbook on Art Crime, 237-251. doi:10.1057/978-1-137-54405-6_11

Rivero, O., & Sauvet, G. (2014). Defining Magdalenian cultural groups in Franco-Cantabria by the formal analysis of portable artworks. Antiquity, 88(339), 64-80. doi:10.1017/s0003598x00050225

Seker, C. (2016). The Formal and Contextual Analysis of Soldier Painters' Artworks in the Westernization Era of Turkish Painting during the Ottoman Period in Asia Minor. International Journal of Art and Art History, 4(2). doi:10.15640/ijaah.v4n1a3

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Critical Essay on Madame Ginoux in Cafe de la Gare: Paul Gauguin 1888. (2023, Feb 12). Retrieved from

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