Destroyed Place Essay

This essay has a total of 826 words and 4 pages.

Destroyed Place



Paul Klee is a famous Surrealist painter, regarded by the Nazis as a degenerate artist.
Born on December 18, 1879, in Munchenbuchsee near Bern, Switzerland, Klee enters the most
prestigious art school in Germany, the Munich Academy, at the age of 21. Shortly
thereafter, he moves to Munich and travels throughout Europe studying impressionist
artwork and incorporating color into his work far more than in previous years. In 1910 he
gets his own private exhibition in Bern, and from this point on he works with such artists
as Wassily Kandinsky and August Macke. In 1916 his works become extremely desirable to
the public. At this point he returns to Munich and has a huge exhibition, displaying 362
of his works. Klee then is admitted to the Bauhaus to teach art, until he comes down with
scleroderma in 1936 and dies in 1940.

Destroyed Place, an oil painting on cardboard, surrounded with silver, by Paul Klee, now
resides in Lenbachhaus, a museum in Munich, Germany. This painting was completed in 1920,
and is very mysterious in both meaning and appearance. The top of the painting is bright
and calm, rather than destroyed. It soon becomes very dark, depicting the scary setting
of the painting, due to the death and destruction which previously occurred at the sight
of the painting. The cross atop the hill in the background of the painting is suggestive
of the burial site of Jesus Christ. The other crosses scattered across the painting
reinforce the theme of death through their repetitive use in the painting. The foreground
of this painting is at the bottom where the green hump is a gravestone, and the two hands
are anthropomorphic. The triangular shape on the right side of the painting suggests that
something is emerging from the ground. Perhaps it is going to evolve into something not
similar to the two hands of people killed in the First World War coming back from the
dead. The cruciform iconography greatly suggests the destruction that occurred during
World War I, while the cross in the window of the main building indicates that all of the
windows had crosses in them until they were destroyed in the war, as well as that it was a
place of worship. Remains of some of the crosses can be seen in the windows, along with
the red coloring, suggestive of blood or fire. The two other buildings in the painting
are not standing upright, indicating further destruction beyond what is included within
the painting. The theme of this particular painting by Klee is primarily dark throughout
this painting, with the occasional red paint, suggestive exclusively of the violence
prevalent at the site of the painting. This effectively reinforces the sense of a
destroyed place, hence the title of the painting. This painting, along with others from
around 1920, demonstrates a mastery of elegant color synchronization used by Klee to
create semiabstract compositions such as this piece, which also demonstrates his use of
individualism, surrealism and atmospheric perspective.





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