The Ten Largest
paintings belong to Hilma af Klint’s series Paintings for the Temple
. Standing at over 3 metres tall, Hilma af Klint’s otherworldly paintings explore the spiritual evolution of humanity. Inspired by a vision where she was instructed by a higher spirit to create the works, each piece is dedicated to one of the four stages of life: Childhood
and Old Age
. This piece is the first in the series, and so childhood is its focus. Pink, white and yellow flower-like symbols appear against a blue ground, with looping words in orange and blue and yellow spheres. Hilma af Klint’s intention was for the 10 completed pieces to hang together, in a circular arrangement.
Hilma af Klint
The Ten Largest, Group IV No.1, Childhood
FSC Certified paper and wood
Date of work
Original: Tempera on paper, mounted on canvas 322 × 239 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.