Friday, 20 November 2009

“Three ages of women” (detail) – Gustav Klimt

The full image is here.
You might see the full image and say of it, as people say of Rodin’s Helmetmaker’s Wife, “why the ugliness?"  A great answer is given here.
To precis, “Truth is beauty, and beauty is truth . . . ”


  1. If that answer is so good why did you remove the ugly part of the painting?

  2. Because I like that dstail. :-)

    And, I guess, because I wanted to challenge people who think art HAS to be beautuful to be art, and who wouldn't have looked at it otherwise.

  3. The child seemed to have sucked all the milk from the mother's breasts, and that's why they appear so deflated.

  4. The artist’s depiction of the mother and child is not “real”, it’s an idealised view of womanhood: young, pretty and maternal. The old woman appears as an empty vessel, hiding her face in shame, age having caused her to deviate from this ideal. I don’t think this painting evokes compassion (unlike the Rodin sculpture purported to be its model), largely because it doesn’t show the old woman’s face. Rather than reflecting reality, it draws on stereotypes.

    Compare the Klimt painting to Goldie’s The Widow, also completed at the turn of the twentieth century and on display at Te Papa. The old woman’s face and demeanour speak volumes. She is both real and beautiful.


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