Mother and Child is a painting that focuses on women at different stages in their lives. Painted by Gustav Klimt in 1905, it uses soft shades to portray a young woman with a child resting beside her. This painting is also known as, “Le Tre Eta Della Donna”.
Gustav Klimt is also known for other paintings that explore the changes that women go through, some of which are influenced by society. The artist chose to include less erotic elements in this work than he did with several other paintings, such as “The Theatre In Taormina”. The female form is rendered with lines which are evocative of a Japanese style.
Japanese art influenced several painters of the time, including Klimt. He used its methods to produce landscapes and several paintings that focused on the female form. The large-format drawing, “Fishblood” also demonstrates the profound influence that Japanese prints had on Klimt and the Secession.
This cropped section of the larger original painting offers stunning detail of the portraits of the younger two generations featured in Klimt’s Three Ages of Woman.
Notably, the elderly lady is removed and the negative reflection of her status is avoided to make this a more positive artwork.
Klimt uses Japanese visual methods in “Mother and Child” and “Fishblood” to great effect, drawing attention to the facial expression and body language of his subjects. His painting “Love” was completed six years before “Mother and Child” and displays a vertical format which is Japanese in origin.
The mother figure has a slightly dreamy quality, as does the child. This is an element which is often infused into Austrian Symbolist paintings. Klimt’s art is appreciated for that style and as a result, viewers may see symbols that they associate with the dream world.
Sometimes Mother and Child is noted for its use of European mother goddess symbolism. In other cases, viewers enjoy it for its exploration of different aspects of family life.
His painting The Family shows the relationship between all three members of a family, with the mother lovingly embracing the father as they both hold their child.
Klimt himself came from a family of seven children, all of whom were artistic. His parents were both creative people in their own right. His family was poor but if the themes explored in his paintings such as Mother and Child are any indication, there was no shortage of love.
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