Artist of the Day – Gustav Klimt

| April 24, 2012 | 0 Comments
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Gustav Klimt is Artist of the Day and has mass appeal because of the beauty and erotic symbolism.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gustav Klimt

Born July 14th, 1862, Baumgarten, Austrian Empire, Died February 6th, 1918, Vienna, Austria-Hungry. Movement, Symbolism, Art Nouveau.

1907 – 1908, 180 x 80 cm, Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, Austria

(July 14, 1862– February 6, 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. His major works include paintings, muralssketches, and other art objects. Klimt’s primary subject was the female body,[1] and his works are marked by a frank eroticism—nowhere is this more apparent than in his numerous drawings in pencil.  Fusing Symbolist imagery, a gentle impressionism, and boldly designed patterns, Gustav Klimt created a highly distinctive and sensual style.  His decorative art came to typify the spirit of progress and luxury in Imperial Vienna prior to World War I.  He won an important commissions from the Viennese authorities and was awarded the Emperor Prize in 1890 and the Gold Prize at the world Exhibition in Paris 1900.  At times, Klimt’s frank, realistic portrayal of nudity and unconventional compositions led to fierce criticism and scandal and accusations that his work was pornographic.  Klimit also painted many fine landscapes, but is renowned for his portraits of beautiful, aristocratic, and wealthy women.  Many of his drawings were considered too erotic to show in public.

Emilie Floege

This luscious portrait of Klimt’s sister in law and close companion signals a shift in his portaiture. Emilie Louise Flöge (born 30 August 1874 in Vienna and died 26 May 1952 in Vienna) was an Austrian designer, fashion designer and businesswoman. She was the life companion of the painter Gustav Klimt.

Emilie Floege - Gustav Klimt


In the biblical tale the brave and beautiful Jewish widow beheads the drunken Assyrian tyrant Holofernes after a banquet.  The choker across her neck reminds us that the pleasure was from the beheading. 1901, Oil on canvas.

Judith Gustav_Klimt_039


The Kiss

There is no other painting in Western art so celebrated for its depiction of sensual love.  The image is not just an intimate moment, but a universalized embrace between the sexes.  of the couple’s bodies we see only the man’s head and neck, and the hands that courage his lover’s lip towards his own.  Of the woman, we are shown only face, arm hands and feet.  The pictorial space is dominated by elaborate decorative motifs made up of geometric patterns and flowers.  It is astonishing that with so little of the couple depicted, Klimt so readily convinces us of their intimacy. To read more about the mass appeal of the Kiss, go to the BBC – Mass Appeal.

The Kiss




Klimt’s depiction of mythological story of Jupiter ravishing Danae in the form of a shower of gold caused an unfortunate scandal.  Many were offended by the figure’s openly sexual position and her expression of dreamy ectasy.  1907-1908, Oil on canvas.

Danaë (Klimt painting)

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Category: Art Reviews