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A Semiotics Analysis on the Artistry of Paul Gauguin in Popular Culture Focusing on Saussure’s Semiology and Barthes’ Myth, the Gaze and the other, and Binary Oppositions


  • Department of Ads and PR, Namseoul University, 91 Daehak-ro Seonghwan-eup Sebus-gu Cheonan-si Chungcheongnam-do, Korea, Republic of
  • Department of Broadcasting and Digital Media, Chungwoon University, Namjang-ri,Hongseong-eup, Hongseong-gun, Chungcheongnam-do, Korea, Republic of
  • Department of Art Market Apprisal, Kingston University, Knight Park Grange Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey - KT1 2QJ, United Kingdom


Background and Objectives: This study anticipates a glimpse into Gauguin's outlook on life, worldview and vision of the universe through his paintings. The scope of this research is limited to seven of Paul Gauguin's masterpieces. Methods and Statistical Analysis: The research methodology uses Barthes' framework of myth, which was Saussure's semiology inverted by Barthes, as the foundation for analysis in this study. This study analyzes the language of the signifier and the signified, the language of the first order of signification; denotation, the second order of signification of myth; connotation, as well as Barthes' myth and Louis Althusser's ideology. Findings: Additionally, this study analyzes the gaze and the other, which are inherent in the paintings, and binary oppositions. The analysis results anticipate the referent of the life between the present and the past in the painting background and characters, the tension amidst material wealth and prosperity and everyday life about the future, anxiety and anguish, anticipation of death, ideal perception and reflection on nature of Gauguin and ourselves, mysticism, original sin, civilization and barbarism, the myth of the frailty of human life and the ideological mental world. Improvements and Applications: Through a semiotic analysis of Gauguin's paintings, the meaning, interest and enjoyment of the paintings within popular culture can be discovered.


Denotation and Connotation, Ideology, Myths, Sign, Signifier and Signified.

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