Klimts Tree of Life

Gustav Klimt's "Tree of Life"

Austria 1812-1917


The “Tree of Life” is an ancient universal archetype found throughout the world’s mythologies, and philosophical traditions and remains a very popular subject for artists.

This week we looked at the work of Austrian Symbolist painter. muralist, and textile designer, Gustav Klimt. We studied in particular, the organic shapes in his work and the class created paintings inspired by his "Tree of Life". His work was a nice finale for the end of Fall term and tied together several of our recent lessons. His highly stylized paintings embodied influences from several other cultures . Klimt's work is distinguished by the elegant gold decoration and variety of designs influenced by Byzantine mosaics, Egyptian symbols, Minoan and Classical Greek murals, Medieval European painting, and Japanese prints.

He was born near Vienna Austria to an artistic and musical family of modest means, however, Klimt’s artistic talent earned him a full scholarship to the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts at age 14. He excelled in his studies, resulting in a number of commissions before he graduated. Upon leaving, he set up his own interior design studio with several other students. He became one of the founding members and President of the Vienna Secession. They published an art magazine, staged exhibitions for unconventional young artists and brought innovative foreign artist's works to Vienna. In 1888, Klimt received the Golden Order of Merit from Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria for his contributions to art . Gustav Klimt was one of the most radical artists of the 20th century both in his bohemian lifestyle and his art. Through his intensely decorative style, he pushed at the boundaries of traditional artistic convention and opened the doors to modernists. Along with several other Austrian artists he directly influenced the Art Nouveau movement and a renewed interest in Decorative Arts and design. His work remains very popular and influenced generations of artists and designers.





HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Winter classes begin the week of January 15th


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 Week One: Cave Paintings

It has been an eventful week in our Art Literacy class. We have been all around the world.  I would like to thank all of my wonderful students for their great efforts. We began with the story of the discovery of the discovery of cave paintings in Lascaux,  France  and also looked at images from  Spain , where the oldest known cave paintings have been found,  in the cave called El Castillo. The prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils are now the world's oldest known cave art that dates more than 40,800 years old.