Gustav Klimt Tree of Life Painting Review and Analysis

3 years, 2 months ago 0

The Tree of Life Stoclet Frieze, 1909

In the history of man, The Tree of Life has had a significant meaning. It has been linked with several religious practices and traditions, depicting the source and sustenance of man’s life. In the bible, The Tree of Life was situated in the middle of the Garden of Eden, a garden that Christians believe their first man and woman were created. Other religions also have similar trees, and many painters in ancient time tried to make a statement about these trees on painting. Of the many painting of the same kind, Klimt’s Tree of Life painting is the most outstanding of them all. Various artists have also used it as a model drawing this tree.

Gustav Klimt was an Austrian painter known for painted erotic and romantic images in most of his paintings. However, he also did other paintings of landscapes and nature. Gustav Klimt’s tree of life depicts this same tree, with significant features on it. It connects the three worlds surrounding man; those are The Underworld, The Earth, and The Heavens. Its roots are deep into the earth, probably signifying that for life to be sustained, Mother Nature must be involved. The roots then come up to the aboveground and meet into forming the tree’s trunk that is on the earth. The tree’s branches extent to the heavens, and have various type of fruits and flowers on them. These fruits symbolize that life can be born from the tree.

Death is also symbolized on the tree by the black bird that sits on one of the branches. A black bird has the same meaning in many religions worldwide, even in current African beliefs it is considered as a death sign in many cultures. In real life, the tree has been linked to the many virtues of man, which include strength, wisdom, and beauty. The tree’s roots symbolize the man’s ‘roots’ to his home, with many cultures and beliefs being that man come from soil and will return to it eventually. The branches signify the man’s way of life in trying to reach out for more possibilities as in friendship and wealth. The fruits and flowers are in line with man’s reproduction.

Klimt Gustav painted Tree of Life, during his Golden Era as seen by the extensive use of the golden color on this piece. It has had thousands of different interpretations, but all of them still tend to agree that this tree has all to do with man’s living. Other pieces of art that have this theme in them done by Gustav Klimt include The Mother and Child, The Ages of Women and The Death and Life paintings. Some painters have since used this piece and creating elaborate paintings, by using dove wings and beaks as branches. Other paintings have the tree in the upside down position with the roots reaching up to the sky, while the branches sink into the earth. All the same, The Tree of Life painting done by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt has lived on the history of the painter, as a versatile artist.


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