We entered the room, and my eyes fell at once on the picture. I looked at it for a long time. It was a pile of mangoes, bananas, oranges, and I know not what. . . . The colours were so strange that words can hardly tell what a troubling emotion they gave. There were sombre blues, opaque like a delicately carved bowl in lapis lazuli, and yet with a quivering lustre that suggested the palpitation of mysterious life; there were purples, horrible like raw and putrid flesh, and yet with a glowing, sensual passion that called up vague memories of the Roman Empire of Heliogabalus; there were reds, shrill like the berries of holly — one thought of Christmas in England, and the snow, the good cheer, and the pleasure of children — and yet by some magic softened till they had the swooning tenderness of a dove’s breast; there were deep yellows that died with an unnatural passion into a green as fragrant as the spring and as pure as the sparkling water of a mountain brook. . . . They belonged to a Polynesian garden of the Hesperides.
—W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919, a novel inspired by the life of Paul Gauguin.