[Daily article] January 30: Oviri (Gauguin)

Oviri is an 1894 ceramic sculpture by the French artist Paul Gauguin. It
depicts a Tahitian goddess of mourning, with long pale hair, large
breasts, and wild eyes. She smothers a wolf with her feet, while
clutching a cub in her arms. Art historians have suggested multiple
complex interpretations; its alternative title, “Savage”, may refer to
Gauguin’s own view of himself. The work’s form and tone was inspired by
a number of ancient sources, including Majapahit mummies and an Assyrian
relief of a master of animals. Other possible influences include
preserved skulls from the Marquesas Islands, figures found at Borobudur,
and a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in central Java. Gauguin made
three casts, each in partially glazed stoneware. The original is housed
at the Musée d’Orsay, in France. It was exhibited at the 1906 Salon
d’Automne where it was seen by Pablo Picasso, who used it as the basis
for one of the figures in his Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


The German–Polish War ended with the signing of the Peace of
Bautzen between Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, and the Piast ruler of
Poland, Bolesław I.


Low-lying places around the coasts of the Bristol Channel of
Britain were flooded, possibly by a tsunami, resulting in an estimated
2,000 deaths.


Nathuram Godse fatally shot Mahatma Gandhi, the political and
spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement, at Birla
House in Delhi.


Vietnam War: Forces of the Viet Cong and the Vietnamese
People’s Army launched the Tet Offensive to strike military and civilian
command and control centers throughout South Vietnam.


Kenya Airways Flight 431 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near
Côte d’Ivoire shortly after takeoff, killing 169 on board.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

Having a pleasant, gentle, mild manner of speech; speaking gently or

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the
fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.
–Franklin D. Roosevelt

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