Death and Life

Gustav Klimt • Painting, 1915, 178×198 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Nude, Mythological scene, Allegorical scene
Style of art: Art Nouveau
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1915
Size: 178×198 cm
Artwork in selections: 138 selections

Description of the artwork «Death and Life»

Unusual and fascinating paintings by famous Austrian artist Gustav Klimt attracted the attention of the audience not only bright colors and overt eroticism, but also for its deep symbolism. A vivid example is the Klimt painting "Life and Death", the description of which we offer you.

By the end of the XIX century painter fully formed as a master with a private and recognizable style. Art historians call this phase of the art of Klimt, which began around 1898, gold. The artist actively uses the Golden color in his work, thoughtfully and thoroughly suited to the implementation of plans, carefully working through each element and getting the end result that delights even the pickiest of critics.

"Life and Death" is an allegorical work, in which Gustav Klimt spent 8 years, from 1908 to 1916, It tells us about the eternal confrontation between life in all its manifestations and death waiting to happen at a distance. The whole composition consists of three conventional parts: on the left side the artist has placed the figure of Death, the right group of people, symbolizing Life. Dark space between the left and right part of the picture separates them from each other, as if holding the dark priest and not allowing him to get closer to the living.

To contrast their characters Gustav Klimt uses both color and form: Life and Death in his painting recognizable at a glance. Right corner of the canvas shines with rainbow colors, shaded gold. In this kind of patchwork cocoon, symbolizing Life, the viewer sees the faces of peacefully sleeping children and mothers, peacefully clutching them to himself, figures of men and women embracing each other, and the old woman, lost in thought. The continuity of generations is what makes Life victorious in this eternal fight.

Death on the Klimt painting "Life and Death" presents a lonely, slightly hunched figure, watching the celebration of Life. Her skeleton hidden under the shapeless robe, decorated with black crosses, circles, and rectangles of dark green and purple — the audience saw only the skull, which is slightly leaned forward, as if Death is looking at what is happening with interest and are not averse to take part in it. She knows that one day there will be her time and she will gradually take all — both young and old. But for now she could only wait, threateningly poised his deadly scepter.

Today the Klimt painting "Life and Death" can be seen in the Leopold Museum in Vienna (Austria).