Paul Gauguin
Vairaumati Tei Oa (Her Name Vairaumati). 1892

The picture reflects Gauguin's interest in the myths and legends of Polynesia. The story of the beautiful Vairaumati, who became the wife of the Maori god Oro, was reproduced by the artist from tales recounted by his Tahitian lover Tahe-mani and the few books to which he had access. He gives the ancient Tahitian legend a modern touch: his Vairaumati is a beautiful Tahitian girl proudly enthroned against a background of tropical vegetation. Her tense pose reminds one of an Egyptian relief. Gauguin often made use of such "quotations" in his works, believing that monuments from ancient cultures were inextricably bound up with nature and that the basic laws of being could be discovered in them. Gauguin took photographs of Egyptian antiquities with him to the island and often made use of them in his pictures.

Paul Gauguin

1848–1903