Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
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This is a painting by the French painter Gauguin.(1848 ��� 1903) Gauguin inscribed on the painting: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
Gauguin�۪s painting, which he created in 1897 while living in Tahiti, depicts three groups of people, he indicated that the painting should be read from right to left, with the three major figure groups illustrating the questions posed in the title.
Three realities: Birth. Life. Death.
Three questions: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?
Three questions that Gauguin pondered through his art as he struggled with depression.
Three questions that men and women have asked, and tried to answer, since the beginning of human history.
Gauguin completed the painting at a feverish rate, allegedly within one month�۪s time, and it is believed that he went into the mountains to attempt suicide after the work was finished. Gauguin himself provided a telling description of the painting�۪s esoteric imagery, written in February 1898:
It is a canvas four meters fifty in width, by one meter seventy in height. The two upper corners are chrome yellow, with an inscription on the left and my name on the right, like a fresco whose corners are spoiled with age, and which is appliqu̩d upon a golden wall. To the right at the lower end, a sleeping child and three crouching women. Two figures dressed in purple confide their thoughts to one another. An enormous crouching figure, out of all proportion and intentionally so, raises its arms and stares in astonishment upon these two, who dare to think of their destiny. A figure in the center is picking fruit. Two cats near a child. A white goat. An idol, its arms mysteriously raised in a sort of rhythm, seems to indicate the Beyond. Then lastly, an old woman nearing death appears to accept everything, to resign herself to her thoughts. She completes the story! At her feet a strange white bird, holding a lizard in its claws, represents the futility of words��_.
What are your answers to: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?