This is a study for one of the most important works by Gustav Klimt. The Klimt University of Vienna Ceiling Paintings, also known as the Faculty Paintings, were a series of paintings made by Gustav Klimt for the ceiling of the University of Vienna's
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Gustav Klimt
Study for the Judge in "Jurisprudence" (Faculty Painting at Vienna University)

1903

About

This is a study for one of the most important works by Gustav Klimt. The Klimt University of Vienna Ceiling Paintings, also known as the Faculty Paintings, were a series of paintings made by Gustav Klimt for the ceiling of the University of Vienna's Great Hall between the years of 1900–1907. In 1894, Klimt was commissioned to paint the ceiling. Upon presenting his paintings, Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence, Klimt came under attack for 'pornography' and 'perverted excess' in the paintings. None of the paintings would go on display in the university. Jurisprudence, like the others, is laden with anxiety: a condemned man is depicted surrounded by three female furies and a sea monster, while in the background, the three goddesses of Truth, Justice, and Law look on. They are shown as the Eumenides, punishing the condemned man with an octopus's deadly embrace. An old sinner, naked and lean, is standing in a bent posture in the lower half of the picture. A polyp embraces him and ties his hands to his back. Three goddesses of revenge with snakes in their hair stand around the sinner. Above are personified, female representations of justice (centre), law (right) and truth (left). Justice holds a sword, the law the book Lex. The truth is half naked and dressed only in a cape. The judges can be seen as small figures in the middle of the picture. Probably the polyp represents the bad conscience of the man. But the sinner also seems to be a victim of justice. Klimt's critics criticize here the orientation of the work as a mural to be read from bottom to top, but a ceiling painting was required. Furthermore, the artist is accused of reducing jurisprudence to crime and punishment. In Jurisprudence, Klimt's change of style is most clearly recognizable; for he deviates strongly from his design from the year 1898, in which the personified justice raises a sword. This radical change can be interpreted as Klimt's reaction to the rejection of his two previously presented images of philosophy and medicine. Despite harsh criticism, the artist remains true to his own process of development. It is possible that the old sinner in jurisprudence is even a self-portrayal of Klimt, who sees himself as a victim of an unfair assessment of his faculty pictures. Additional information: - The study is listed in the official catalogue raisonné by Alice Strobl with number 3479a. - Estate stamp on the lower right (Gustav Klimt did not sign his drawings and studies, but only at the request of collectors and friends. After his death in 1918, Gustav Klimt's sister took care of the estate. She also arranged for the works on paper to be stamped with an estate stamp ("Nachlass" means estate). This drawing was part of the estate and therefore it has been stamed by his sister.)

Details

  • Movement & Style
    Vienna Secession
  • Condition
    Excellent
  • Condition Details
    This drawing is framed and in excellent condition. It is listed in the official catalogue raisonné by Alice Strobl with number 3479a.
  • Period
  • Dimensions
    H 17.72 in. x W 12.52 in.H 45 cm x W 31.8 cm
  • Gallery Location
    Vienna, AT
  • Reference Number
    LU110125107701
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