Gustav Klimt’s Tree of Life
Using tissue paper, glue, and black and white tempera paint, students will make mixed media art inspired by Gustav Klimt’s “Tree of Life”
By: Mrs Brown of MrsBrownArt.com
What You Need:
- 12″ x 18″ white paper (poster paper)
- tissue paper in warm colors
- tempera paint (black, white, brown)
- water containers and water
- glue, old paintbrushes and old yogurt containers
What You Do:
Talk about Klimt (see info below).
Show children a picture of Klimt’s painting, “Tree of Life”. (See Background section below).
Talk about the Tree of Life symbol and what it represents.
Have children tear sheets of tissue paper into smaller pieces.
Then, encourage them to cover their sheet of white paper with tissue paper.
- Brush a thin layer of the glue over the poster board. You may need to add a bit of water to the glue to make it runnier.
- Lay one piece of tissue paper down at a time.
- Brush over each one with glue and water.
When filled, let the papers dry.
Have students paint a “Y” shape on the middle of their tissue paper collages (using tempera paint).
They can then add swirls to the ends of the “Y”.
Encourage them to look at Klimt’s original painting and then add more swirls to their trees.
Roots can be painted next.
Finally, white and brown paint can be added to embellish the tree symbol.
Gustav Klimt painted the “Tree of Life” which is an important symbol in nearly every culture.
The Tree of Life represents wisdom, protection, strength, and beauty. It reaches up into the sky and down into the earth. It links Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld.
The swirled branches make people want to keep looking at the painting to explore and find more.
Even with the mixed up patterns and swirly branches we still will always recognize it as The Tree of Life.
Note from KinderArt: SOME of Gustav Klimt’s works may not be suitable for young children. Be sure to research any images in books etc. before introducing them to children. We have chosen very suitable images for children and listed them below.
About Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt was an Austrian painter (born in 1862, died in 1918) and the founder of the school of painting known as the Vienna Sezession. Klimt’s early work was rather realistic in nature. Much of the paintings he did prior to 1898 were large murals commissioned by theaters. Later in his life, Klimt began to paint in a much more innovative and imaginative way until eventually his creations were very decorative and quite symbolic – meaning that many of the images in his work had hidden meaning. His most well-known work is “The Kiss”.
The following images are very suitable for young children:
- The Kiss
- L’Albero Della Vita
- The Tree of Life
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