Paul Gauguin - Parau na te Varua ino. Words of the Devil 1892

Parau na te Varua ino. Words of the Devil 1892
Parau na te Varua ino. Words of the Devil
1892 91x68cm oil/canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washingon, DC, USA

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From National Gallery of Art:
Lured to Tahiti in 1891 by reports of its unspoiled culture, Gauguin was disappointed by its civilized capital and moved to the countryside, where he found an approximation of the tropical paradise he had expected. The Tahiti of his depictions was derived from native folklore supplemented by material culled from books written by earlier European visitors and overlaid with allusions to western culture. The pose of the standing nude, for instance, is derived from a medieval statue of the biblical Eve and more distantly from the Venus Pudica of classical sculpture. The artist placed this rich combination of references to original sin, the loss of virginity, and occidental standards of beauty and art within the context of his Tahitian mythology and primitive, non–European aesthetics.
The meaning of the title Parau na te Varua ino is unclear. The phrase varua ino, evil spirit or devil, refers to the masked kneeling figure and parau means words, suggesting the interpretation "Words of the Devil." The meaning of many of Gauguin's Tahitian paintings remains elusive. There is little likelihood that Gauguin's original audience would have been able to interpret the Tahitian legends that Gauguin carefully inscribed on most of the 66 paintings he took back to Paris in 1892.