Click here for a more analysis of the painting by Samui Art Gallery.
1893, Gustav Klimt and Matsch were commissioned to paint the ceiling of the cathedral in the new university of Vienna. Many of the pieces that were designed for the university were met with distain, including 'Medicine' (on the right), due to the extreme symbolism in the art.
'This detail from Klimt's Medicine shows the figure of Hygeia, the mythological daughter of the god of medicine. Klimt was loyal to traditional depictions of the goddess, providing her with a snake and the cup of Lethe. However, above Hygeia, Klimt painted a large column of light, and placed on either side several nude figures and, most notably, a skeleton to symbolize Death. For this Klimt received much criticism from physicians and university officials who were offended by what they saw as his lurid, almost pornographic depiction, of the human form, and for suggesting that the healing arts were unable to prevent death. Klimt's University paintings, of which Medicine was a part, were some of his first works to explore the female form in vivid detail.' www.theartstory.org