Additional Information About This Piece:
Klimt's representation of "Tree of Life" is an important symbol in nearly every culture. With its branches reaching into the sky, and roots deep in the earth, it dwells in three worlds- a link between the Heavens, the Earth, and the Underworld, uniting above and below. It is both a feminine symbol, softly bearing sustenance, and a masculine, visibly phallic symbol- forming another union. Looking closely, the swirling, concentric branches draw us deep into the painting, where we see Klimt's multiple, varied symbols therin, including geometric leaves and fruits, as well as flowers on the ground, that appear as eyes peering back at us. Of note is the gorgeous bird in the right center, set apart from all other detail by its darkness. Some say it is an owl, representing wisdom, or, more likely, a raven, representing death. As a print, the work is often split into three images, with the figure on the left titled, "Expectation" and the two on the right, "Fulfillment."