Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) was a prolific artist. The Viennese artist and his art, are the subject of numerus academic publications, but Hope II (1907-1908), known as Visionduring Klimt’s life, has often been overlooked by contemporary scholarship. The painting depicting a pregnant female figure has become synonymous with Klimt’s earlier rendering of a nude expectant woman, Hope I (1903). While current scholarship is largely devoid of deeper analysis other than the visual or formal elements of the painting, Visionhas a broad narrative beyond the similar maternal iconography also observed in Hope. By evaluating Vision through the lens of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s model regarding the stages of grief, and by cultivating a visual connection to the iconography of the Virgin Mary, a reevaluation of the artwork can be established. The converging emotions of crisis, rejection and mourning can be ascertained through a deeper analysis of Klimt’s 1907-1908 painting. Visionrepresents the visual manifestation of Klimt’s grief after losing his son, Otto Zimmerman, in infancy. Further investigations into the narrative of Visionmay have been unwarranted because the artwork’s title became popularly known as Hope II after the artist’s death. By introducing a renewed visual analysis of the painting, and by further providing a foundation of commonly disregarded primary evidence, a narrative consumed by time emerges. Klimt’s Visionis revealed to be a therapeutic embodiment of, and outlet for, the artist’s tormented emotions, which counters claims that the painting is simply an iconographical reiteration of Hope.

Date of publication

Spring 5-6-2019

Document Type

Thesis (Local Only Access)



Persistent identifier


Committee members

Thesis Chair, Kaia Magnusen Ph.D, 2nd Member Elizabeth Lisot Ph.D, 3rd Member Amy Hayes Ph.D


Masters of Art