Three Tahitians
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Three Tahitians 1899
Three three-quarter length figures stand out against a vivid, colourful background. Two women flank a young man, seen from behind. They may be offering him a choice, possibly between vice, symbolised by the apple, and virtue, symbolised by the flowers. This suggestion ties in with the allegorical character of many of Gauguin's Tahitian paintings in which ideas from different cultures are fused together. Gauguin used the same two young women as models in other paintings made around the same time, during his second period in Tahiti from 1895-1901.

Glossary Open

Allegory

Where the ‘story’ of a work has a deeper underlying meaning – often used for the representation of grand, abstract ideas.

Symbolism

The representation of subjects or ideas by use of a device or motif to create underlying meaning. A literary and artistic movement that originated in France and spread through much of Europe in the late 19th century. There was no consistent style but rather an appeal to the idea of the artist as mystic or visionary and the desire to express a world beyond superficial appearances.

Allegory, Symbolism

Details

  • Acc. No. NG 2221
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 73.00 x 94.00 cm (framed: 107.00 x 127.00 x 7.00 cm)
  • Credit Presented by Sir Alexander Maitland in memory of his wife Rosalind 1960