The notion of a golden age set in an earthly paradise has long kindled the human imagination. Virgil envisioned a place of such bucolic pleasures - erotic and unsullied, sometimes shadowed by blunted desires and doubts - in his Eclogues, set in the valley of Arcadia in ancient Greece. His poems defined for Western art and literature a theme that continues to this day. Their resonance as a foundation for European painters around 1900 is the subject of this illustrated catalogue, which focuses on three monumental painitngs - Paul Gauguin's Where do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (1897 - 98), Paul Cezanne's Large Bathers (1900-1906), and Henri Matisse's Bathers by a River (1909 -10, 1916-17). Other masterpieces by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Nicolas Poussin, and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes establish the high value given to Arcadia in the history of French painting. Distinguishsed scholars place these artists within the larger context of this inventive period in art history.