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Self-portrait with portrait of Bernard, 'Les Misérables'

Paul Gauguin1888

Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum

Paul Gauguin’s face bears a troubled expression, for the artist has painted himself in the role of Jean Valjean, the protagonist in the Victor Hugo novel Les Misérables. Gauguin compared this fictional hero, a man rejected by society despite his inner power and love, with the misunderstood artists of his own time, including himself.

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