Belonging to her Paintings for the Temple
series, Hilma af Klint’s The Ten Largest
artworks each stand at over 3 metres tall. Every piece is dedicated to one of the four stages of life, to explore the spiritual evolution of humanity: Childhood
and Old Age
. This piece, the second of the ten, explores the theme of childhood, using her abstract language of shapes, spirals and botantical imagery in pastel blues, pinks, oranges and greens. The artist’s intention was for the pieces to hang together, in a circular arrangement.
Hilma af Klint
The Ten Largest, Group IV No. 2, Childhood
FSC Certified paper and wood
Date of work
Original: Tempera on paper, mounted on canvas 315 × 234 cm Hilma af Klint Foundation
Hilma af Klint (1862 – 1944) was a Swedish artist, considered to be the first abstract artist in Western art history. Talented in mathematics and botany, she studied painting at Tekniska skolan in Stockholm, and then the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. She initially painted landscapes, portraits and botanical illustrations, but from 1906 she began creating large scale abstract artworks as part of her explorations of theosophy and spiritualism. Believing herself to be guided by a higher power when creating these radically abstract works, she did not exhibit them in her lifetime, and left instructions for them not to be shown until two decades after her death. She is now recognized as a pioneer in abstraction, predating the works of Malevich, Kandinsky and Mondrian.