Here within this painting we find two figures standing undressed, looking somewhat awkward. The male and female figures are joined by several small animals which gather around their feet and they appear to be standing on perhaps a beach or barren area of land. Immediately behind them is a thick bush, whilst further beyond that is a bright sky and perhaps some brightly coloured mountains which were typical of the environment of Tahiti. The artist first visited here for exploration before later moving back permanently after he became entirely disillusioned about life in his native France. Some were shocked by this decision, but it helped him to accomplish the most important body of work from right across his entire career.
Adam and Eve is a topic which has inspired many famous artists over the centuries. There are many different elements to this theme that can attract creatives whilst they look for suitable inspiration for future artworks. Firstly, religious topics have played a major role within society and that has been reflected within European art since even before the Renaissance. Secondly, Adam and Eve itself is one of the most famous elements of Christian scripture and there are also some symbolic parts to it which can be suitable for art. There is a purity to the two figures, as they represent early man and the potential dangers that might damage their journey help to warn the rest of us about certain things. Gauguin may have seen a similar purity in the people that he encountered whilst living in Tahiti, because of their relatively primitive nature in comparison to the highly successful and advanced European nations of that period.
As mentioned, the topic of Adam and Eve has appeared across thousands of paintings, sculptures and etchings over the years. It was most common when religion was most embedded in European society, and at that time there were many religious institutions who could also pay handsome commissions to the best artists for this type of work. Some of the most memorable uses of the theme within art would have to be the likes of Adam and Eve by Albrecht Durer, Expulsion from Paradise by Michelangelo and Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck. Indeed, as the centuries progressed, many artists would review the previous incarnations of this theme and then re-invent the topic with their own ideas, whilst sometimes taking a little direction from what had been done successfully before. It is only now that religion and art are starting to become a little more separated than previously would have been the case.