Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Klimt, Gustav

The Kiss
oil and gold leaf on canvas
180 × 180 cm
The Austrian Belvedere Gallery, Vienna

Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism.

Klimt was 45 when he painted The Kiss. Man leaning over and kissing kneeling woman. All shrouded in symbolically patterned gold. A bed of flowers below them.
The Kiss is a fascinating icon of the loss of self that lovers experience. Only the faces and hands of this couple are visible, all the rest is great swirl of gold, studded with colored rectangles as if to express visually the emotional and physical explosion of erotic love.
This work is composed of conventional oil paint with applied layers of gold leaf, an aspect that gives it its strikingly modern, yet evocative appearance. The Kiss is widely considered a masterpiece of the early modern period. It is a symbol of Vienna Viennese Art Nouveau, and is considered Klimt's most popular work.