One of Paul Gauguin’s most important works, and a personal favourite is: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?, currently housed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Gauguin—after vowing that he would commit suicide following this painting’s completion, something he had previously attempted—indicated that the painting should be read from right to left, with the three major figure groups illustrating the questions posed in the title. The three women with a child represent the beginning of life; the middle group symbolizes the daily existence of young adulthood; and in the final group, according to the artist, “an old woman approaching death appears reconciled and resigned to her thoughts;” at her feet, “a strange white bird…represents the futility of words.” The blue idol in the background apparently represents what Gauguin described as “the Beyond.” Of its entirety he said, “I believe that this canvas not only surpasses all my preceding ones, but that I shall never do anything better—or even like it.” (Wikipedia)
Other views of the same painting.
See a frontal view of this painting here.