Keith Haring was born on May 4, 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania, and was raised in nearby Kutztown, Pennsylvania. He developed a love for drawing at a very early age, learning basic cartooning skills from his father and from the popular culture around him, such as Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney.
Upon graduation from high school in 1976, Haring enrolled in the Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh, a commercial arts school. He soon realized that he had little interest in becoming a commercial graphic artist and, after two semesters, dropped out. While in Pittsburgh, Haring continued to study and work on his own and in 1978 had a solo exhibition of his work at the Pittsburgh Arts and Crafts Center.
He painted his last work, the mural “Tuttomondo (The Whole World),” on an exterior wall of Convent of the Church of Sant’Antonio in Pisa, Italy in 1989. This is a huge mural measuring 1,938 square feet and features Haring’s signature outlined figures of humans and animals. The work’s theme is peace and harmony in the world and features 30 human figures. Each of the figures represents a different aspect of peace.
In this work, the figure of a woman holding a baby represents maternity, while the iconic radiant baby is a depiction of purity and all that is positive. There are angels depicted throughout the mural accentuating the theme of peace and harmony.