After moving to Tahiti in 1891 in search of a more basic approach to life, Gauguin found a much more civilised and evolved Tahiti than he was expecting and this was a great disappointment to him, so he moved to the countryside to find the peace and quiet that he needed.
This is where he found the tranquility and inspiration that he so desperately desired, and this translated into the enticing piece that we now know as Words of the Devil.
The nude local woman is standing in a pose that has taken its inspiration from a medieval statue of Eve and her nudity is an almost blatant reference to the garden of Eden, and whilst the painting itself is particularly primal and primitive, the fact that her genitalia is hidden is very much taken whether consciously or sub consciously from western culture of the time and its distaste for female nudity.
There seem to be many references to the garden of Eden, particularly the menacing serpent with his eyes fixed firmly on the naked woman.
The onlooker on his knees looks fearful and rather doomed and the naked woman appears to be coy, but the look on her face is almost alluring, as if she is tempting the onlooker to join her.
The painting itself is almost primitive in comparison to some of Gauguin's earlier works, this suggests an influence of the local culture and his new-found simple life.
This painting was only part of a love affair he had with Tahiti as over 66 of his paintings that he took back home to his native Paris bear a significant reference to his spiritual and artistic second home.