History Highlight: Gustav Kilmt

ImageThe Virgin; 1912

History: Klimt (1862-1918) was a Viennese painter, muralist, and sketcher whose work is often categorized as symbolism. He was the founder of the Vienna Sezession, which was essentially the Viennese version of the French Art Nouveau.  He was influenced by classical Greek, Byzantine, and Egyptian art, as well as late medieval art such as Albrecht Durer. His best known painting is The Kiss (1909). He’s known for his focus on the female body and his direct connections to erotism in his works. His “golden phase” was marked with great commercial success and wealth, and from this period comes some of his greatest works.

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The Kiss; 1907-1908

This painting, from his gold period, is his most famous work. It shows an embrace between a man and a woman. The contrast between masculinity and femininity are shown by his use of square shapes in the male’s figure and circles in the woman’s. I love this picture for so many reasons, one of them being the whimsical, almost psychedelic portray of a couple kissing. I also love the imagery that he uses when showing nature (curvy lines and fluid shapes).

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Water Serpants I; 1907-1908

This painting wasn’t done in oil, which is the reason for the muted, pastel colors. This painting is one of two works in the Serpants series. He focuses on the female body, but added the alterations to the forms in order to present it to the Viennese public without worries of censorship. As his life went on, his works became more emotional and less abstract. I love the emotion, attention to detail, and beauty portrayed in all his works.

ImageBirch Forest; 1902

Sources:
Kilner, Fred S. Gardner’s Art through the Ages: The Western Perspective. Vol. 14. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2014. Print.
Pictures: http://www.gustav-klimt.com

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