Gustav Klimt (1862 - 1918): Hygieia; A fragment of the

Gustav Klimt (1862 - 1918): Hygieia; A fragment of the

7/13/2021, 10:07:09 AM
Gustav Klimt (1862 - 1918): Hygieia; A fragment of the painting "Medicine" (the ceiling Paintings for Vienna University), 1900, Oil on canvas, Destroyed by a fire set by retreating German forces in 1945 at Schloss Immendorf, a castle in lower Austria. . . In 1894, Klimt was commissioned to paint the ceilings in the University of Vienna’s great hall. The commission included three paintings, Philosophy, Medicine, and Jurisprudence. Medicine was the second of this series, presented in March 1901 at the tenth Secession Exhibition. It featured a column of nude figures on the right hand side of the painting, representing the river of life. Beside it was a young nude female who floated in space, with a newborn infant at her feet, representing life. A skeleton represented death in the river of life. The only link between the floating woman and the river of bodies is two arms, the woman's and a man's as seen from behind. Figure of Hygeia, we have here, the mythological daughter of the god of medicine is shown at the bottom of the painting. Hygieia stood with the Aesculapian snake around her arm and the cup of Lethe in her hand, turning her back to mankind. Klimt conveyed an ambiguous unity of life and death, with nothing to celebrate the role of medicine or the science of healing. Klimt received criticism from physicians and university officials who were offended by what they saw as his lurid, almost pornographic depiction, of the human form; filled with “perverted excess.”and for suggesting that the healing arts were unable to prevent death. The critics also pointed out that Vienna at the time was engaging in major medical advancements, and that the painting did not depict anything about either prevention or cure. Eventually, the university would not display them. In May 1945 the paintings were destroyed as retreating German SS forces set fire to the castle to prevent it falling into enemy hands. All that remains now are preparatory sketches and a few photographs. 🖐️🖐️ You can find one of the preliminary sketches and a photograph of 'Medicine' in my story ☝️👆

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