The painting Hope II was painted between 1907 and 1908 by the famous artist Gustav Klimt.
It is composed of oil, gold and platinum painted on canvas. Like many of Gustav Klimt's works of art, it tells a story about women.
In the well-known painting, a woman with her head sheltered in her dressing gown turns her head towards her rounded belly. Below her, three women also bow their heads, perhaps praying or crying. See more
Why is the painting called Hope II? Although Gustav Klimt named his painting Vision, he had previously named another painting of a pregnant woman, Hope, in relation to the earlier painting, this particular painting is known as Hope II.
However, there is an abundance here to match the gravity of the females.
Gustav's painting symbolises in its own way the dangers of childbirth, both for the woman and her offspring, with an almost religious seriousness. The four women in the painting pray or cry for the life of their unborn child and perhaps also for themselves.
A beautiful and elegant work of art, the brilliance of Gustav's colours and drawings is noticeably counterbalanced by the macabre-looking skull that emerges from behind the pregnant woman's belly.
The combination of all the images into a single pillar in the centre of the painting insinuates a unity and balance between birth, mortality, prayer, crying, energy and illness.
Coming from a modest family, his father being a gilder, Gustav Klimt entered the Vienna School of Applied Arts in 1876. He continued his studies there until 1883. In 1879, he participated in the organisation of the Festzug (silver wedding of the imperial couple) under the direction of Hans Makart.
In 1883 he founded a decoration workshop with his brother Ernst Klimt and his fellow student Franz Matsch. See more
He decorated the ceilings of the Fiume Theatre in 1883, the Villa Hermes in Lainz, the Carlsbad Theatre in 1886 and the Burgtheater staircase from 1886 to 1888.
In 1900, Klimt's fresco entitled "Philosophy", considered an outrage to public morality, caused a scandal.
Gustav Klimt exhibited the fresco "Medicine" in 1901, which prompted an appeal from his patron in the Chamber of Deputies, Minister of Education von Harten.
This was followed by the culmination of the paintings on a golden background with "Danaë" and "The Kiss", two works presented at the Kunstschau, the first group exhibition by Klimt and his friends since the withdrawal of the Secession.
In 1911, Klimt travels to Rome, Brussels, London and Madrid.
Klimt died in Vienna on February 6, 1918 of a stroke, leaving many paintings unfinished.
"There is no self-portrait of me. I am not interested in my own person as an "object of representation", but in other beings, especially women, and even more so in apparitions". Gustav Klimt.