Hope II Gustav Klimt Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Hope II painting was painted between 1907 and 1908 by the famous artist, Gustav Klimt.

It is made of oil, gold and platinum painted on canvas. Its dimensions are 43.5 by 43.5 inches. Like many of Gustav Klimt's artworks, it tells a story of women.

In the well known painting, a female with a cranium sheltered into her dressing gown, turns her head down towards her rounded belly. Underneath her, three females also lower their heads, it is thought that maybe they are praying or crying.

The numerous decorations in Hope II almost overpower its top layer. Gustav Klimt strongly believed in artwork and was a hardworking man when it came to his paintings; he was in the list of the numerous artists of his age who involved archaic customs in their paintings.

In the Hope II painting he used Byzantine golden leaf artwork together with a contemporary psychological aspect. Gustav Klimt stayed and worked in Vienna, which was also home to Sigmund Freud.

Sigmund is the inventor of psychoanalysis. Gustav's examination of formative influences like physical attraction and mortality goes hand in hand with Sigmund's examination of the mind.

In the artwork, an expectant female lowers her head and shuts her eyes; it suggests she must be praying for the protection of her offspring.

Coming out from the back of her belly, is a head of death signalling the harm that faces her, below her, 3 ladies with lowered heads too, lift their hands, maybe they too are in prayer or in mourning as if they had a vision of the death of the child.

Why is the painting called Hope II? Though Gustav Klimt had named his painting Vision, he had previously named another painting of an expectant female, Hope, by relation with the previous painting, this particular painting, has come to be known as Hope II.

However, there exists an abundance here to equal the females' gravity.

Gustav Klimt was in the list of the numerous artists of his age who got inspiration from sources not only in Europe but in the other places also. He stayed in Vienna, where the East and the West roads meet.

He made paintings on sources such as Byzantine artwork, Mayecean works on metal, rugs and miniatures from Persia, and many more. In the Hope II painting, the female's robe that has gold patterns, sketched flat, as clothing, has Russian symbols.

Though the woman's skin is circular and dimensional, it has an out of the ordinary decorative elegance. Birth, mortality and the physical pleasure of those who are alive are in parallel and hang in balance.

An expectant woman in profile to the viewer seems to have her head lowered towards her stomach and breasts which are uncovered. Her eyes are shut and on one hand, her fingers curled, the hand is lifted such that the palm does not face her.

Maybe she is in prayer. A continuous mark of grey comes up behind her head, perhaps it is a wing or something else.

The female is covered by a shawl that has many colours, though her breasts are bear. There are detailed patterns with curves and round shapes resembling a male's sperm and a female's ova respectively, drawn on the shawl.

A grey cranium resembling a head of death peeps from behind her stomach. Below the female and partly covered by her shawl are three females who have the same posture of bowing heads, shut eyes and hands that are lifted.

All that is happening in the picture is combined into a long column of sorts, to the right, and it forms an almost straight line on the other hand to the left it is rounded outwards. At the back a golden brown surface that has specks forms a solid background which has no viewpoint.

Gustav's painting in its own way symbolises the dangers facing childbirth, both for the female and her offspring infused almost with religious seriousness. The four females in the painting either pray or cry for the life of their unborn offspring and maybe for themselves too.

A beautiful artwork and of elegance, the radiance of Gustav's colours and drawings are noticeably counteracted by the ghoulishly peering cranium that comes out from behind the expectant female's belly.

The combination of all the images into one pillar in the painting's centre insinuates a unity and equilibrium among birth, mortality, prayer, crying, energy and illness.

Gustav Klimt painted the famous painting, during the golden phase. The painting is currently located at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) which is in New York City in the United States of America, under the allegorical paintings category.