Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? is an oil painting produced between 1897 and 1898 by French painter Paul Gauguin.

Paul Gauguin on the upper left corner of the painting inscribed the original title in French as D’où Venons Nous / Que Sommes Nous / Où Allons Nous.

Gauguin described about the painting that it should be read from right to left instead from left to right, with the three major figure groups using their body, arms were asking the questions as posed in the title. The three women with a child on the right side of the canvas represents the beginning of life as depicted by the birth of child while the middle group in the center of the painting symbolizes the daily existence of young adulthood and the final group on the left hand side of the canvas represents death asking questions Where are we going. According to the artist, the left hand side of the painting depicts an old woman who was approaching to her end of life or death appears reconciled and resigned to her thoughts.

The work can be viewed at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Artist: Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin
Location: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Medium: Oil on Canvas

Description

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? is an oil painting produced between 1897 and 1898 by French painter Paul Gauguin.

A strange white bird can be seen near her legs which symbolizes the futility of words. In the background, the blue idol from the canvas represents what the artist described it as “the Beyond. Paul Gauguin said the famous words about this painting that he believed that this canvas does not only surpasses all other of my preceding works but in future also, i shall never do anything better than this canvas or even similar to like this.

The dimensions of the canvas were 139 cm × 375 cm or 55 in × 148 in. The inscription as described above contains no question mark, no dash and all the words were capitalized visible on top left corner of canvas. Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? Painting was created when Paul Gauguin was living on the island of Tahiti. The artist experienced transitioned in his career from being a Sunday painter to a professional painter. The term Sunday painter means someone who paints only for his or her own enjoyment).

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