Fun of the evil spirit by Paul Gauguin

Fun of the evil spirit by Paul Gauguin

The original name of the painting “Arearea no varua ino” can be roughly translated as “Fun of the evil spirit.” Arearea means fun, mischievous joke, entertainment, and varua ino is an evil spirit, the devil. In the foreground there are two women – sitting and lying. Behind them the landscape is divided diagonally into two parts by a lying tree trunk. This composition element Gauguin often used.

Behind the left is a statue of the goddess Hina, and to her right is a blue mask. Far to the right, two people fight or dance. The exact interpretation of the picture is not clear, but

the main theme is the conflict between the life represented by the goddess Hina and the death symbolized by the mask. Two red fruits between women in the foreground may symbolize temptation.

Women are faced with a choice that results in either eternal life or death. The picture “Fun of the evil spirit” echoes symbolism with the picture “The spirit of the deceased continues to look” and the same lithograph, as well as the painting “Near the Sea”, where Gauguin used similar decorative elements.

The painting was transferred to Carlsberg’s New Glyptotek by Helga Jacobsen in 1927 and is currently in the 65th Hall of the Glyptoteka. Inventory number MIN 1832.

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