Old Woman 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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Old Woman

Old Woman (1909) is an altering portrait within Gustav Klimt's work as it showcases the presence of an old woman wrapped with dark fabrics.

The piece illustrates a woman of age with her eyes closed and gently titled downwards as she rests her body. She is covered in a large black coat that transcends to cover her head. The white lining that covers the head of the woman gives the impression that perhaps the old woman is a Nun that had seized the attention of Klimt. The woman's dark black coat transforms into a burgundy coloured texture near the body of the piece, adding a glimpse of colour.

A dark brown coloured background, accentuates the presence of the woman's black coat. Due to the texture of the piece, it seems as if the dark coat is in fact a fur coat, unveiled through the artists light technique that depicts a fur material.

Three of the woman's fingers are lightly exposed within the painting, alluding to the feeling of a cold tension within the painting. An array of information remains unknown for the viewer to understand, questing the meaning behind the painting. As the woman cover's her body and her hands in a beautiful thick fur coat, the idea of her being cold is an idea illustrated.

The overall emotion behind the piece is astonishingly gloomy, as the dark piece does not present any colour to it. The woman within the painting may be the artists mother, as a piece that pays tribute to the woman compared to the other young woman throughout his art.

The woman's body is gently tilted towards the bottom of the canvas, as if she is falling asleep from the cold that fills the setting. Her face is painted through an impressionist technique that is able to still reveal a great measure of detail. As evident through the title, the viewer is able to make sense that the woman is of age; shown through her dark droopy eyes and cool skin. The green undertone behind her pale skin, and shades of blue highlighting it up raises the question that perhaps the woman had already passed, yet is seized in the position.

The dark bleak emotion symbolized through the piece causes the viewer to ponder the message behind the work. The impeccable technique used by the artist shows a minor realist technique throughout the silhouette, yet focuses on impressionism to illustrate details within the face. Gustav Klimt's work has covered an array of styles and designs, yet the classic portrait style manifests a multitude of feelings and messages.