Gustav Klimt's painting Tragedy dates back to 1897 upon the artist's Art Nouveau movement as he depicts an Allegorical theme.
The dark piece was created for Gerlach's luxury book, Allegories and Emblems. The painting depicts an array of common characteristics showcased through the artist's work, including a female model, the muse's location in the centre of the frame, and their gaze meeting the eyes of the viewer. The piece carries a similar style of Gustav Klimt's previous mural that he painting for the Burgtheatre of Actor Josef Lewinsky as Don Carlos. This portrait showcases the character posing in a side profile as the artist illustrates his exact form.
Tragedy holds a dark feel within the piece, presented through the dark use of colours and emotions portrayed by the muse. The model stands in an upright position clothed in a dark cloak, covering her feminine silhouette. The woman is accessorized in a dark red necklace that chocks her around the neck. The woman's face is painted effortlessly beautiful, as he classic features pour outside of the canvas. The woman's pale skin is accentuated by a sharp nose, small lips, warm eyes and prominent eyebrows that shape her face. The woman wears gold hoop earrings that are perpendicular to her face, and the focal point is the crown of flowers placed upon her head.
The crown of flowers holds as a headdress for the woman, framing her presence and structure by adding a touch of femininity. A swirling gold bracelet covers the arm of the woman, similarly to common patters showcased in Klimt's work within his gold phase. The painting of the woman is shades in dark colours, with grey used as a highlighted colour to accentuate the woman.
The interesting element of the portrait is the mask the woman hold between her hands showing it to the viewer. The mask of the theatre is placed in her hands, symbolizing the array of emotions and deception found within the theatre. It also symbolizes the allegories depicted within the book.
The outside of the main portrait is an array of detail and design to illuminate the focal points. Gustav Klimt had sketched fire-breathing dragons that seize two young women along the frame. The dragon is covered in a mosaic pattern, yet is left in the classic black and white colours. The outside perimeter of the book adds elements of form and structure throughout the piece, while bringing attention to the woman within the middle.
The hoop earrings of the woman are based in the same motion as the O in the title, Tragoedie. This common theme adds a triangular element to the painting, bringing the viewers attention to the title. The background behind the woman's head showcases a knight on a horse and a battle scene. At the bottom right of the woman's body, a marble column is placed hand carved with green vines growing across it.
The symbolism throughout the work carry relations to the Allegorical themes presented within the book. As Gustav Klimt was commissioned to produce an art piece that accentuated his style, the detailing around adds an immense drama to the novel. Klimt's careful attention toe detail is showcased as he shades different areas while accentuating others throughout the artwork, The Tragedy.