Essay on Gustav Klimt's Death and Life

771 Words Dec 11th, 2012 4 Pages
Death and Life

Gustav Kilmt was born July 14, 1862 in Baumgartner, Austria where his incredible talent was discovered at a young age. At age fourteen, he entered the School of Arts and Crafts of Vienna where he studied for the next seven years. For the next forty-six years, Klimt would present his talents in both his drawings and paintings; one of them being his artwork Death and Life.

In 1910, Klimt created this oil on canvas painting but reworked and finished it in 1915. In 1911, his painting, originally named “Tod und Leben”, won first place at the International Art Exhibition in Rome, Italy. Klimt described this work as his most important and figurative piece of art yet. The 178 x 198 cm Death and Life painting can
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He is able to link the otherwise completely opposite sides of the painting by connecting the eyes of death with the person it has come to claim. With this, he is able to grasp our attention and make it turn to the upper left of the work. This is balanced with and equal pull of visual weight to the right and down.

Klimt creates the image with several shapes, in this case organic shapes due to their irregularity and ability to evoke the living forms of nature. He is also able to create a visual texture with the use of patterns. We are able to see the different type of grave markers on what seems to be a blanket on the grim reaper as well as the variation of shapes and colors surrounding the huddled group of people. The brush strokes on the varying colored grass give the painting a rough textured look. Meanwhile, the proportions of the subjects in the painting are difficult to perceive due to the stacking of the objects. Although almost hidden, it is still noticeable that some bodies are not proportional. For example, the torso of the women carrying

the baby seems too elongated to belong to her. Body parts that are perceived as a unit simply do not seem proportional or even human like.

Overall, Death and Life is an exceptional piece of art that serves as an excellent teacher of the arts. The overpowering simplicity of this artwork is able to grasp one’s attention and quite possibly make us

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