The painting is also known as the Faculty Painting and includes an array of paintings by the artist between 1900 and 1907 for the universities Great Hall.
Upon presenting the paintings that Klimt had created, which include the art works Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence, the artist was hit with an array of criticism that his works were deemed as 'pornographic' with 'perverted excess'. None of the paintings will be displayed in the university.
The paintings were eventually destroyed by the Nazi's during World War Two in a fire.
Medicine, as displayed within the photo to the left is the second painting that Klimt had presented to the university, and at the Secession Exhibition in Vienna. The right side of the painting manifests the river of life, and is filled with an array of female and male bodies intertwined into one another.
These bodies are all presented in a different form, including a skeleton that illustrates the death of the river. The river of life also includes a child, showcasing both elements of life and death, which are prominent themes in Klimt's work and the painting itself.
To the left of the painting, a woman is depicted floating in space in a super natural form. Her nude body is manifested as her long lush hair flows across her body. The woman's back is lightly arched as her firm breasts are painted in exquisite detail. At the feet of the woman, a baby is wrapped in a dark wreath showcasing a spiritual entity. The newborn baby at the woman's feet is meant to represent life.
At the bottom of the painting, the mystical presence of Hygeia is showcased, a prominent figure in mythology. The woman is showcased in Greek and Roman mythology as the personification of clean health and medicine. The woman holds a snake in one hand, and in the other a cup of lethe. She stares directly at the viewer catching their gaze while she reveals her face directly. The snake's tail is curved at the bottom of the piece is a swirl, a common trademark depicted throughout Klimt's work.
The woman is covered in a patchwork of fabrics and patterns, showcasing a light mosaic pattern to her clothing. She is drenched in seaweed that flows off of her body, mixing into the pattern of her clothing. The woman's head is illuminated through a jellyfish aurora, covering her face and adding a dynamic drama to her character. Hygeia stands as the focal point of the painting, showcasing a dominant presence in to complex artwork.
Gustav Klimt's work was met with an array of criticism, including from prominent officials at the time. One the people had made the connection between the works title, Medicine, and the mythological presence of Hygeia that symbolized health and medicine, the university professors found it as appalling that the sexualized painting attempted to create the connection.
The university of Vienna was a prominent figure at the time, realising an array of medical studies that paved history. They were offended that the art that they found pornographic was meant to showcase the university's success.
The piece continues to seize viewers even upon its sad end. The painting cultivates beautiful forms while showcasing an array of symbolism and history behind the artwork. Gustav Klimt's masterful artwork incorporates realism with different colour schemes to showcasing a though provoking piece of artwork.