Embrace, 1939 by Paul Klee
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This creature reduced to a few predominantly curved lines is more symbol than living thing. The semicircular head with two black eyeholes is set on the narrow column of of the neck. The right half of the torso is visible, the left half confined to the propped-up arm. At the right is a seal which has the effect of a stamp of approval or of an exclamation point. Top left is a black heavenly body, farther down a smaller one. The bar strokes are applied with a dry brush in black, so that differentiations are prodced in the thick lines, thereby creating movement in themselves.
A fearful figure, this "embrace". Who is being embraced, by whom? Is this threatening being a goddess of death from the archaic Greek, a sort of Persephone, the wife of Hades?
The pale, whitish blue and the pale brown colors, with the cloud of more intense brown around the head, around the heavenly body, and at the bottom of the picture, are solemn, grandiose, entirely in keeping with this symbol of death.
In his last years Paul Klee created several such ultimate works, which have something disquieting about them. We are witnessing the last act of the drama.