Austrian Gustav Klimt, an Art Nouveau artist, is most known for the decorative style of his artwork. Oddly, Gustav stated, “There is nothing that special to see when looking at me. I'm a painter who paints day in day out, from morning till evening – figure pictures and landscapes, more rarely portraits. However, if you examine his work, especially the paintings of his Golden Phase, you will notice many special things. The scroll work, geometric shapes and golden leaf overlays in Klimt’s paintings set his work apart from other artists of his time.
In the Famous Artists (Vol. 1) Online Unit Study, homeschoolers study Klimt’s acclaimed Portrait of Adele Boch Bauer. This elaborate painting, now known as Woman in Gold, is said to be the greatest painting of Klimt's golden phase. Click here to see an enlarged image of the painting. Zoom in to see the patterned details. Grab a piece of paper and try to draw some of the patterns you see in the painting.
Klimt's painting has an intriguing history, so interesting in fact that a movie was created about it in 2015. To learn about the theft of Adele's portrait and its return to her family, watch the film Woman in Gold. The movie is rated PG-13 due to thematic elements, such as the Nazi's treatment of Jews (although there's nothing violently graphic). There are also a few curse words. You can stream Woman in Gold on VidAngel to edit out inappropriate parts (such as curse words).
- Why did Maria leave Austria?
- Why was Maria resistant about traveling to Austria? Why did she change her mind?
- What does “restitution” mean?
- Why did Randy take on Maria’s case? How did his motivation change?
- Why didn’t the Austrian government want to give up the painting?
- What did Maria mean when she said, “I have to do what I can to keep these memories alive, because people forget—especially the young.”
- Do you think the painting belongs in Austria or in America?
Create your own Klimt-inspired Portrait in Gold
- Paper (8.5″ x 11″ or larger)
- Oil Pastels
- Gold Sharpie or gel pen
- Photo of yourself or a model with the face, arms and hands exposed. We used a wedding magazine, although a clothing catalog would work as well.
- Glue Stick
- Cut out the face, arms and hands from the photo.
- Place the cut images onto your paper so that they are the correct distances apart. Glue them.
- Using oil pastels, copy Klimt’s style and draw patterns around the face, arms and hands. Copy Klimt's shapes and add some of your own.
- Add accents to the patterns and shapes with the gold sharpie.
- Take a picture of your creation and share it on Instagram. Add @techiehomeschoolmom in the comment so that I can see your drawing and share on this post to inspire other artists.
To learn about more famous artists, enroll in the Famous Artists Online Unit Study. After exploring the meaning of “art”, your family will study 10 renowned artists and discover 10 art movements from Renaissance to Surrealism. You’ll watch videos and visit websites to learn about the artists’ lives and styles. Then you’ll create your own masterpieces inspired by each artist. The Famous Artist Online Unit Study is all tied together by creating art exhibits about each artist in a virtual art gallery.[Learn about this digital project HERE.]