Senecio (Klee)

Senecio or Head of a Man Going Senile is a 1922 Cubist painting by Swiss-born artist Paul Klee. It is currently in the Kunstmuseum Basel.

ArtistPaul Klee
Mediumoil on canvas mounted on panel
Dimensions40.5 cm × 38 cm (15.9 in × 15 in)
LocationKunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland


Klee's adaptation of the human head divides an elderly face into rectangles of orange, red, yellow, and white.[1] The flat geometric squares within the circle resemble a mask or the patches of a harlequin, hence the title's reference to the artist-performer Senecio.[2] The triangle and curved line above the left and right eyes respectively give the illusion of a raised eyebrow.[1]

The painting's use of lines, ambiguous shapes, and space all demonstrate the principles of Klee's artistry in which simple graphical elements are "set in motion by energy from the artist's mind."[2]


  1. ^ a b "Senecio". Totally History. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Butler, Adam; Van Cleave, Claire; Stirling, Susan (1996). The Art Book. Phaidon Press. p. 250. ISBN 0-7148-3625-7.