Ad Parnassum Paul Klee 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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Ad Parnassum demonstrates Klee's intricate skills and showcases the Pointilist art movement

Ad Parnassum is one of Paul Klee's best known works of art, and in the eyes of many critics is his best demonstration of the pointillist style he developed in the later stages of his career.

It is one of Paul Klee's largest paintings, and is considered a masterpiece by many due to its incredibly complex nature and design, featuring tiny individually stamped dots in patterns which microscopically form semi recognisable shapes and objects. Seurat is the most famous pointilist artist.

Ad Parnassum was painted in 1932, a time when many critics view Klee to have been very much at the peak of his creativity.

The painting was seemingly influenced by Klee's visit to Egypt in the late 1920s, because of the way in which it features a very clear pyramid style structure in the backdrop, alongside a bright orange glowing sun reminiscent of a North African sunset. Sunset was a further painting from Klee and follows a similar style, whilst Castle and Sun captures the Miro-style Sun.

It is hard to know exactly what message Klee is depicting in this work, however the title could provide some clue. Mount Parnassus in Greece is a sacred mountain which is mythologically the home of literature, poetry, and in many regards learning.

By naming his work Ad Parnassum, Latin for To Parnassus, perhaps Klee is making reference to the concept of learning and knowledge itself within the deep technical complexities of his painting.

For many, though, it is the deep technical complexities which make Ad Parnassum such a special work of art. The huge painting features incredible patches of colour, a sky comprised of beautiful combinations of the colour blue and a very prevalent synergy from the way in which small, identical tiny shapes become part of something much bigger.

Ad Parnassum is a work of art symbolic of the peak of Klee's career, a piece for which he is best known. In both its message and technicality it is Klee at his best, and is a true masterpiece.