Shortly after quitting his job as a stockbroker, Paul Gauguin moved to Brittany in search of a “savage and primitive” society uncorrupted by modern life. As seen here, he developed a style of painting based on bright, flat patches of unmodulated color that take on a life of their own. Inspired by religious myths and superstitions, he often depicted rituals and rites of passage. Here, he depicts a young woman’s loss of virginity, as symbolized by the plucked flower in her hand. The rest of the picture’s mysteries remain unsolved. Where is her lover? Why is a fox pawing at her chest? Why are villagers approaching from the distance? Do they know her circumstances? Do we?