Mark Harden's Artchive Klee, Paul
Ad Parnassum
1932
Oil on canvas
39 x 49 in. (100 x 126 cm.)
Kunstmuseum, Bern

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From "Techniques of the Great Masters of Art":

"Klee's studies in the related fields of natural history, comparative anatomy and anthropology had brought Klee to the belief that nature was characterized by the permutation and movement of fundamental units of construction. He wanted to achieve an equivalent way of working in painting. In addition to his interest in the natural world. Klee also turned to theories of both color and music. As he worked on the basis of units of construction taken from nature, Klee tried to create linear improvisations which he likened to the melody of the work. Klee evolved a system of color organization in which all the colors of the spectrum were conceived of as moving around a central axis dominated by the three pigmentary colors - red, yellow and blue.

"From 1923 Klee created a series of imaginative color constructions which he called 'magic squares' in which he applied his theories. This series came to a conclusion in 1932 with Ad Parnassum. Klee likened each element in the painting to a theme in a polyphonic composition. He defined polyphony as 'the simultaneity of several independent themes'. In addition. each artistic element in Ad Parnassum is itself a distillation of several ideas and personal experiences. For example. the graphic element illustrates the gate to Mount Parnassus. the home of Apollo and the Muses, and also may refer to the Pyramids which Klee saw in 1928, and to a mountain near Klee's home."