I went to see the Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art yesterday. I wasn’t aware of the theme of Arcadia, or earthly paradise, as represented in the arts and I think this made the exhibit even more interesting to me. Although the exhibition focuses on this theme in mural sized pieces by Gauguin, Cézanne, and Matisse, I enjoyed seeing some large public paintings that portray this idea by other artists as well.
Of all the pieces I saw, I think one of my favorites was Gauguin’s Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (1898). It depicts a bunch of small scenes of the life and people inTahiti, a paradise in itself, with an image of a baby on one end of the painting and an elderly person at the other end. It certainly did make me wonder where we come from, what we are and where are we going, but I didn’t really get an answer from this picture. I guess everyone’s answer would be different and Gauguin leaves it up to the viewer to make their own assessment.
If you saw the exhibit, let us know which piece was your favorite.