Resting at Noon
The simple and undetailed rendering of the objects, and the exaggerated voluminous forms of the human figures in this painting recall the naive style of Henri Rousseau, and in particular the monumental, "primal" figures which Picasso, inspired by Rousseau, painted in the early 1920s.
The figure of the woman - whose face is captured in profile, while her eyes and body are depicted frontally - is reminiscent of ancient near Eastern reliefs, which strongly influenced Gutman during this period; he was one of the principal exponents of this new style, which tried to express the Zionist ideals of renewal and primal experience, of breaking away from Western tradition and of emphasizing the double affinity to both the modern and ancient Middle East.
The composition of this painting is based on the repetition of arched, sensual, female forms and an emphasis on duality. The dramatic quality of the apparently peaceful landscape is achieved through the sharp contrast between darkly shadowed and brightly lit areas, and between a subdued shade of blue and sensual, agressive reds. The knife inserted into the red fruit adds a violent dimension to this drama and intensifies the sexually charged atmosphere.
Gutman was one of several prominent artists who, in the 1920s, viewed the Arabs as a model for emulation in terms of their connection to the land; these artists considered the Arabs to embody the stormy sensuality and vitality of the Middle East, which stood in contrast to the stereotypical image of the Diaspora Jew. This attitude is clearly expressed in this painting as is the dialectic of attraction/repulsion that characterized Gutman's attitude to the Orient - apparent in the vulgar, caricatural depiction of the sleeping man.