Breton Women Attending a Pardon


Emile Bernard ( French, 1868 - 1941 )

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General Description

Emile Bernard’s painting shows several groups of women in rural Brittany, a region on the western coast of France. The women are resting in a field and eating lunch after attending a Breton ceremony known as a pardon. At the pardon, religious pilgrims gathered in a processional on the feast of a patron saint. For the occasion, Breton ladies wore their finest traditional costumes, as Bernard shows in this picture. Bernard was one of several artists lured at the end of the 19th century to picturesque Brittany, along with Paul Gauguin and Paul Sérusier. They worked together around the village of Pont-Aven, making paintings with decorative, flattened forms and unconventional colors. The schematized forms and bright, pure colors of Bernard’s painting embody the expressive aesthetic of the Pont-Aven school.