Arearea by Paul Gauguin

Arearea by Paul Gauguin

The original title of the painting «Arearea no varua ino» can roughly be translated as “The fun of the evil spirit.” Arearea means fun, mischievous joke, entertainment, and varua ino – an evil spirit, the devil.

In the foreground, two women – sitting and reclining. Behind them the landscape is divided diagonally into two parts lying tree trunk. This composite element Gauguin often used. Behind the left is a statue of the goddess Hina, and the right – the blue mask. In the distance, on the right two people are fighting or dancing.

Accurate interpretation of the picture is not clear, but the main theme – it is a conflict between life represented the goddess Hina, and death, which symbolizes the mask. Two red fruit among women in the foreground may symbolize temptation. Women are faced with a choice, as a result of which they are waiting for either eternal life or death.

“Fun evil spirit” echoes the symbolism of the painting “Spirit of the Dead Watching» and the eponymous lithograph , as well as the painting “Near the Sea» , where Gauguin used a similar decorative elements.

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