GUSTAVE KLIMT was a pioneering symbolist artist of art nouveau whose style was controversial due to its erotic elements. Symbolism, including that of geometric shapes, was used extensively and overtly in his art. Never subtle, he used symbolism imaginatively in a way that generated criticism since he was so far ahead of the time period. Klimt is best known for the style of his later works, which includes the use of gold paint/leaf, abstract space in the art and exotic symbolism of the female figure.
The Tree of Life (above), symbolic of the union of Heaven and Earth, is a well known Klimt masterpiece. This stunning painting is full of geometry in the patterning and in its underlying structure. The figure for 'Anticipation' (left hand side) has triangles directing you to look at her face, which itself is looking at a desired future of 'Fulfilment'. Symbolically triangles are associated with eyes and directed intent. The embracing figures of 'Fulfilment' (right hand side) are united in an oval. Note the yin/yang male/female faces and within the robes. There are interesting geometric patterns within the males robe, such as the square grid. Dynamic spirals of the 'Tree of Life's' branches unwinding enfold the two sides and also, like a labyrinth, tell the story of life as it progresses.
Click here for a more analysis of the painting by Samui Art Gallery.
Golden Adele Bloch Bauer is the most famous portrait by Klimt. You will note how the head, with eyes, is at the top of an underlying implied triangle in the structure. Eyes within vesica piscae, themselves within triangles, are in a pillar and the triangles point towards the top, head. An Eye in a triangle symbolises our mind frozen in a physical body; the eye of the expansive Mind looks out of the triangular window into a reality perceived by the 3-Eyes (two physical ones and the third inner eye). Spirals of manifestation surround her head, much like those of Buddha. In the background squares of the physical realm provide strength and stability.