The strong repeated verticals of the figures are lightened just enough by their bodies' grace so that they have the long rhythms of the ground and hills, and the seated figures, whose smaller scale gives size to the whole, repeat the shorter, rounder curves of the plant in the foreground and the branches and leaves above.
The idylls of Puvis de Chavannes have been evoked as comparisons to this picture ("Puvis overwhelms me with his talent," wrote Gauguin, and he put a copy of Puvis' Hope into one of his last paintings). And to be sure, there is the nostalgia for a simpler existence in both artists. But Puvis views his Classic landscapes through a telescope from some distant Olympus, while Gauguin brings his tropical version close and warm before us. Here there is no mystery, no exoticism, no irony. This is simply Anacreon in native dress: the Classic tradition carried halfway round the world.