Paul Klee Biblical art

Recently I was reading “Paul Klee: The Later Work”. It provides sharp, pointed critiques of a large collection of Paul Klee paintings. Many other artist books delve into the broad scope and impact of an artist’s career without providing specific examples resulting in a disconnection with the reader and lacking to build a true understanding of why there’s perceived value in an artist’s work. I always enjoy reading a book that provides direct insight into specific works. With such examples, it becomes much easier to digest an artist’s work. “Paul Klee: The Later Work” does just that.

I was inspired to see that Paul Klee made a painting about a Bible story. It is called “Kommen Herein” which translates to “They Shall Be Judged”.

Below is the transcript from the book:

This picture should be approached from below. Above the serpent, commanded to go ‘uponn its belly’, the two large squares point up to our first parent Eve, but after the Fall. Her face, abbreviated to neck, chin and cheek, is open to the right. Hiding from her Maker, she can still hear His voice. Though she certainly cannot see Him, she can sense the frightful arch of His might, above on the right. God asked her ‘What is this that thou hast done?’ and she answers, ‘the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat’; this is suggested by her distorted mouth. Her sin blazes up like tree-trunks in her eyes.

A marvellous picture of judgement; all the creatures involved truly will be judged. In the bottom right-hand corner, almost hidden and not set off in colour on the wet earth, there is a hint of Adam’s face and the tree, which he is now to plant. This picture, previously not identified as the Fall, has its counterpart in the painting of the third day of Creation, with the Creator in the grass.

interpretation by Professor Walter Ueberwasser

Kommen Herein [They Shall Be Judged], 1937
Tempera with paste. 26×29.5 cm. 10.25×11.75″
Signed, below right: Klee
Marked on board: 1937 W 8 Kommen herein
1937 Catalogue of Works. No. 248. W 8

“Paul Klee: The Later Work”
Published by Galerie Beyeler
Basel, Switzerland (1965)

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Matt Maldre
13 years ago

I don’t see adam or eve in here. Can you like, draw a circle around them?