Series “FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE” traces Schaeffer’s comments on modern culture and can be found weekly on www.thedailyhatch.org !!!!! Paul Gauguin and his life questions!

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

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Series “FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE” traces Schaeffer’s comments on modern culture and can be found weekly on http://www.thedailyhatch.org !!!!! Paul Gauguin and his life questions!

This series of posts entitled  “FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE” touches things that affect our culture today. The first post took a look at the foundations of our modern society today that were set by the Roman Democracy 2000 years ago and then it related it to the art we see today.

The second post took a  look at how modern art was born by discussing Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas,Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Picasso.” The third post took a look at PAUL GAUGUIN’S 3 QUESTIONS: “Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going? and his conclusion was a suicide attempt,” and also featured the art work of  Mike Kelley.

Dr. Francis Schaeffer examines the Age of Non-Reason and he mentions the work of Paul Gauguin.

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin was born in Paris, France, on June 7, 1848, to a French father, a journalist from Orléans, and a mother of Spanish Peruvian descent. When Paul was three his parents sailed for Lima, Peru, after the victory of Louis Napoleon (1769–1821). His father died during the trip. Gauguin and his mother remained in Lima for four years. There the young Gauguin lived a comfortable life. Gauguin then returned to Orléans, and eventually found his way back to Paris.

Here is an example of how insightful Schaeffer can beBelow is from an article by Brian Thomas and is based on Francis Schaeffer’s film series “How should we then live?” In this article you will see some of the thoughts that the artist Paul Gauguin had before deciding to attempt to commit suicide.

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Gauguin as an artist strived to give his work a more human touch, expressing feelings and knowledge and human reactions to the realities of life, while at the same time freeing himself as an artist to express color and design boldly, overcoming the narrowness of merely copying what the eye can register as the Impressionists painted. In an attempt to obtain his goal of “regaining humanity,” as he called it, he moved to Tahiti in 1891. It was here that he painted his greatest work in 1897: Whence? What? Whither?

During the course of 1897 Gauguin referred increasingly to his own death, alluding to suicide in letters and his journal. In the autumn he noted that “The artist dies, his heirs make a grab for his works, sort out the copyright, his estate, and whatever else there might be to do. Now he has been stripped to the bone. I think about these things, and am going to strip myself first: it gives me a sense of relief.”

As Gauguin contemplated taking his own life he set out to create a painting that would leave a lasting legacy of his faith, worldview, artistic insight and intentions by asking three metaphysical questions: Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going?


In a letter to friend Daniel de Monfreid, he describes the painting as a “philosophical work” which could be compared to the Gospels. We must read the work, he said, from right to left and interprets it as such:

“In the bottom right-hand corner there is a sleeping child, then three covering women. Two figures dressed in purple are deep in conversation. A crouching figure, which defies perspective, and is meant to do so, looks very large. This figure is raising its arm and looking in astonishment at the two women who dare to think about their own fate. The central figure is picking fruit from a tree. Two cats by a child…a white goat. The idol is raising both its arms with rhythmic energy and seems to be pointing to somewhere beyond here. A covering girl appears to be listening to the idol. An old woman, close to the end of life, completes the circle.She is ready to accept her fate. At her feet a strange, white bird with a lizard in its talons symbolizes the futility of empty words…”

Where do we come from? A baby lies next to some young women as the source of life. What are we? A woman stands reaching for the apple, a probable reference to Eve in the garden and man’s fall into sin and ruin. Where are we going? From right to left we see the process of ageing taking place culminating in an old woman, “ready to accept her fate.” Art historian H.R. Rookmaaker suggests that in the background “mysterious figures, in sad colors, standing near the tree of knowledge, are sad as a result of that knowledge.”

It is interesting to note that a few days after completing this work, Gauguin went off into the woods and swallowed a large amount of arsenic. But his body rejected it and he was unable to keep the poison down.

I give this example to show how form and content can beautifully integrate in such a way as to make the work a more powerful vehicle of expression. It should be obvious to the reader by now that I do not share Gauguin’s unfortunate outlook on life, but as an artist and a Christian, I appreciate the thought and purpose behind his masterpiece. Both the aesthetic quality and intellectual content marry to form an important and thought-provoking piece of art. The creators of the religious kitsch that line the shelves at your local happy Christian bookstore could learn much from the serious attention Gauguin put into his work.

As Schaeffer was quick to warn, we should not judge art by this criterion alone, but view all works of art by its technique, validity, worldview, and suiting of form to content to gain a deeper understanding, appreciation, and true evaluation.

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If we live in a futile existence is our only logical choice a suicide attempt? It seems that more and more artists are telling us that we live in a chance universe and there is no future for us. Didn’t Jackson Pollock also attempt to display that?(This can be seen clearly in episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation” in How Should we then live?) How do secular people answer these 3 questions:  Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going?

The fourth post took a look at the work of H.R. Rookmaaker and his close relationship to Schaeffer.

Francis Schaeffer pictured above

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The fifth post discussed the work of John Cage and how his work influenced the artist  Gerhard Richter of Germany. The sixth post took a look at the famous painting “The Adoration of the Lamb” by Jan Van Eyck which was saved by MONUMENT MEN IN WW2 and also took a look at the evangelical artist Makoto Fujimura. The seventh post discussed the philosophical work of Jean Paul Sartre and took a look at the artwork of  David Hooker.

Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

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The eighth post showed and discussed the film “The Last Year at Marienbad” by Alain Resnais and featured the artwork of  Richard Tuttle and looked into his return to the faith of his youth. The ninth post noted the comments of Francis Schaeffer on the artwork of Jasper Johns and also featured the artwork of  Cai Guo-Qiang.___

The tenth post was about the art historian David Douglas Duncan and it also featured the artwork of  Georges Rouault. The eleventh post  discussed Thomas Aquinas and his Effect on Art and then episode 2 of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? on the  THE MIDDLES AGES was profiled and also the artwork of  Tony Oursler.

The twelfth post took a close work at the philosophical work of the humanist H.J.Blackham and  the Materialistic Humanism Worldview that he represented and also the artwork of Arturo Herrera and remarkably Herrera claims also his artwork comes about by chance!!! The thirteenth post looks at  Jacob Bronowski  and his materialistic humanism worldview and his film series on evolution and also the  artist Ellen Gallagher who believes her work is influenced by chance is featured.

The fourteenth post takes a close look at the 19th century writer David Friedrich Strauss  and features the work of the artist Roni Horn. The fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth posts discuss Francis Schaeffer’s comments concerning the interview of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ and feature the artists  Robert Indiana,  and James Rosenquist,  and David Hockney.

The eighteenth post takes a look at the fact that “Michelangelo’s DAVID is the statement of what humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow,” and features the artist Paul McCarthy. The nineteenth post discusses the work of the movie director Luis Bunuel and features the artist Oliver Herring.

The twentieth post takes a look at Woody Allen and his materialistic humanism worldview and the artwork of  Ida Applebroog. The twenty-first post is on the evolutionist William B. Provine and features the artwork of  Andrea Zittel.

The twenty-second post discusses the painting “The School of Athens by Raphael” and features the artwork of  Sally Mann. The twenty-third post deals with BOB DYLAN  and includes the comments of Francis Schaeffer on the proper place of rebellion with comments by Bob Dylan and Samuel Rutherford and also includes the artwork of  Josiah McElheny.

The twenty-fourth post talks about BOB DYLAN and includes Francis Schaeffer’s comments on Bob Dylan’s words from HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED and it features artwork by  Susan Rothenberg. The twenty-fifth post deals with BOB DYLAN, and  Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s song “Ballad of a Thin Man” and the disconnect between the young generation of the 60’s and their parents’ generation and it includes the artwork of  Fred Wilson.

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 27 Jurgen Habermas (Featured artist is Hiroshi Sugimoto)

_____________ Jürgen Habermas Interview Uploaded on Feb 1, 2007 Rare video footage of Jurgen Habermas discussing some of his theories.http://soundcloud.com/st-hanshaugen Francis Schaeffer pictured below: ______________ Francis Schaeffer notes: At Berkeley the Free Speech Movement arose simultaneously with the hippie world of drugs. At first it was politically neither left nor right, but rather a […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 26 Bettina Aptheker (Featured artist is Krzysztof Wodiczko)

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 25 BOB DYLAN (Part C) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s song “Ballad of a Thin Man” and the disconnect between the young generation of the 60’s and their parents’ generation (Feature on artist Fred Wilson)

_____________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: ____ Elston Gunn- Ballad of A Thin Man, Live Sheffield 1966 Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000 years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 24 BOB DYLAN (Part B) Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s words from HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED!! (Feature on artist Susan Rothenberg)

______________ Just like tom thumb´s blues (no direction home) Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000 years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” , episode 9 “The Age of Personal […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 23 BOB DYLAN (Part A) (Feature on artist Josiah McElheny)Francis Schaeffer on the proper place of rebellion with comments by Bob Dylan and Samuel Rutherford

Bob Dylan – When You Gonna Wake Up Sermon – Tempe 1979 Published on Apr 28, 2012 Probably the most contentious show in Dylan’s long history of live performance. The between-song “raps” were a fixture of Dylan’s performances during his “Christian” period, but early during the Slow Train Coming tour, Dylan and his band encountered […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 22 “The School of Athens by Raphael” (Feature on the artist Sally Mann)

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 21 William B. Provine (Feature on artist Andrea Zittel)

_______ Dr Provine is a very honest believer in Darwinism. He rightly draws the right conclusions about the implications of Darwinism. I have attacked optimistic humanism many times in the past and it seems that he has confirmed all I have said about it. Notice the film clip below and the quote that Francis Schaeffer […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 20 Woody Allen and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ida Applebroog)

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 19 Movie Director Luis Bunuel (Feature on artist Oliver Herring)

___________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: ____ Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode 8 – The Age of Fragmentation NoMirrorHDDHrorriMoN In the book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Schaeffer notes: Especially in the sixties the major philosophic statements which received a wide hearing were made through films. These philosophic movies reached many more people than philosophic writings […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 18 “Michelangelo’s DAVID is the statement of what humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow” (Feature on artist Paul McCarthy)

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