Description of this painting
Completed in 1922, Senecio is a manifestation of Paul Klee's sense of humor and African culture. Simple colors and shapes, Klee makes use of various shades of orange, red and yellow to reveal the portrait of an old man. The artistic use of shapes gives the false impression that one eye is raised. His left eyebrow is represented by a triangle while the other is formed by a simple curved line. The portrait is also called Head of a Man Going Senile and intentionally imitates children's artwork by using ambiguous shapes and forms with minimal facial details.
This adaptation of the human face is divided by color into rectangles. Flat geometric squares are kept inside a circle depicting a masked face and showing the multicolored costume of a harlequin. A portrait of the performing artist Senecio, it can be seen as a symbol of the changing relationship between art, illusion and the world of drama.
This painting demonstrates the principles of Klee's art, in which the graphic elements of line, planes of color and space are set in motion by an energy from the artist's mind. In his imaginative doodles, he liked to, in his own words, "take a line for a walk."
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