Tag Archives: Philosophy

Klimt: Philosophy mural at University of Vienna

31 Oct

In 1894 Gustav Klimt was commissioned to do three paintings for the University of Vienna entitled PhilosophyMedicine and Jurisprudence.

This is the picture he presented for Philosophy:

 

Philosophy

 

 

“…Philosophy was, if anything, more disturbing than Medicine (check last post). Near the center an amorphous face emerged from the ether..was it God? Wisdom? To the side a column of naked, sinewy figures embraced and clutched their heads in despair or agony. And below them, nearly cut off at the bottom of the canvas, a clear-eyed, sinister woman stared directly at the viewer. Who was she? What did she represent?

The University professors were horrified. There was a meeting. Eighty-seven of them had signed a petition demanding that Philosophy not be hung in the Great Hall. They considered it an affront to reason and learning. The papers all carried accounts of the scandal, with various interpretations depending on their political slant. All of the critics weighed in, some very cruelly.

“I knew this would happen”, Klimt said. “The academics. They think art is like science, or should be. They want a nice equation, x plus y equals z. But its impossible. And even if it were possible, it wouldn’t be art.”

“Kraus said my paintings showed that I was ignorant of philosophy and that stupid people shouldn’t be allowed access to brushes and paint.”

excerpts from A Painted Kiss, by Elizabeth Hickey

 

Advertisements