This early classic oil painting from the beginning of Klimt’s career is sure noticeable and can be considered just as significant for art history as his masterpieces from his Golden Era, such as The Kiss. This piece is a showcase of Klimt’s influences and early studies.
One of the most impressive things about this piece is that dating from around 1890; it was Klimt’s first oil painting. Even so, the technique in it is impeccable, as the attention to detail and great delicacy in the realistic work would resemble the work of the Renaissance artists. Klimt spread his fame through his more decorative, ornamental and abstract work, but his roots were established in schools of Realism, and he had an obsession with the Pre-raphaelites.
This painting shows two young ladies analyzing an oleander tree standing in what looks like to be a patio or the outside of a pompous house. The two girls analyze the pink flowers. The one in the front is taller and is dressed in darker clothes. She has her hair put up and wears a fancy veil with beautiful details in gold and dark embroidery. Her dark clothes contrast with her pale skin tone. She is holding the oleander on her both hands and showing the details of the plant to the girl by her side. This girl on the back is shorter and has cloudy ginger hair. It’s possible to observe three-quarters of her face, and she attentively looks at the oleander being showcased to her. She wears a red dress. The blurred style clearly shows the Renaissance references studied and researched by Klimt, resembling the sfumato technique.
The oleander, to the left, has a thin brown trunk and delicate pale pink flowers. The thin pointy leaves enhance the delicate soft visual of the petals. The leafy bunch on the woman’s hands is voluminous and were painted with more saturated tones of pink than the rest of the flowers standing alone in the tree. The painting portrays an outside scene, and the three are standing against an opening on the wall, or some sort of window, with a dark background. The dark background pops the delicate pink shade of the flowers even more intensely.
The color palette is warm and subtle. Tonalities of brown, green and pink are laid against the golden marble of the back walls. The dark details carved onto the golden walls showcase what would later become of Gustav Klimt’s characteristic ornamental style.
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