The composition in front of us here features a couple going about their daily routine. A man sits astride a horse whilst his good lady watches on. They are besides a large hut which is likely to have been their own home and in the background we see a landcape scene typical of this pretty island. The artist decides to place a tall tree prominently right in front of our eye line which feels an unusual choice, because of how it distracts our eyes from other elements of the painting. Gauguin liked to underline the wild nature of this island, where plants and trees would appear without much control or planning. The vegetation was dense and varied, with bright colours also to be found here. The foreground here is fairly dark, perhaps with a shadow appearing upon us from the many items that appear just in front of us. Further back, just besides the hut, is a burst of light which manages to break through a more open area.
One of the elements of this island that made it so ideal for Gauguin's paintings were the mountainous regions which often creep into the backgrounds of his artworks. There was so much to take advantage of within the natural environment, with bright colours available to the artist having lived for years in parts of France that were not so richly coloured. Indeed, many have moved to the south of the nation in order to enjoy the more abundant light, where as Gauguin himself would appreciate these exotic locations instead. Further more, the artist would also become interested in the lives of local people who would happily model for him once they became aware of his work and became happy to help. With hindsight, the artist's move away from France was a key contributor to his success even though so many thought it to be a bizarre decision at the time.
The 19th century would be a key period in the development of European art and Gauguin would play an important role in the direction that it would take. The Impressionists intially had moved things onwards, and encouraged the use of emotion and self-expression within art, before the Post-Impressionists would then continue the evolution towards all that we can see and enjoy today. Gauguin also was important in terms of content, encouraging Europeans to look elsewhere in the world and find alternative sources of inspiration when previously they may not have been aware of some of the exciting cultural variants that existed beyond their own boundaries.