klimt the kiss

klimt the kiss

Klimt the kiss
The Kiss was exhibited in 1908 in Vienna in the Kunstschau – the building created in collaboration by Josef Hoffmann, Gustav Klimt, Otto Prutscher, KolomanMoser and many others, to coincide with the celebrations in Vienna for the sixtieth anniversary of Emperor Francis Joseph I’s reign from June 1 to November 16, 1908. [11] [12] [4]
It has also been argued that in this picture Klimt represented the moment Apollo kisses Daphne, following the Metamorphoses of Ovid narrative. [9]

Klimt the kiss
7. The artist created “The Kiss,” his most iconic painting, in the aftermath of dismal failure. During the first decade of the 20th century, Klimt completed a series known as the Vienna Ceiling Paintings at the University of Vienna’s great hall. Due in large part to the nude figures in this series, the established art community derided them as pornographic. Klimt ultimately called upon the help of a wealthy patron to repay his commission of 30,000 crowns to Vienna’s Ministry of Education and took his paintings elsewhere.
Both figures are fully realized and symbolically blended as they face the golden abyss of perfection. The dominant male force is signified by the powerful coat of masculine black and gray blocks, softened by the feminine organic scrolling, reminiscent of “Tree of Life.” In comparison, female energy is shown as spinning circles of bright floral motifs and upward-flowing wavy lines. From these vestments of artistic creation golden rain blesses the fertile earth, similar to the descending roses in “The Beethoven Frieze”. The triangular fronds also recall water imagery from paintings such as Water Serpents. Here, Klimt’s loosening of naturalism, in favor of a personal symbolic language suggesting the workings of unconscious mind, in particular its erotic urge, reached a climax. Through two figures, depicted not naked, but draped in densely patterned cloths, Klimt succeeded in evoking a moment of intense sensual pleasure, within a sharply stylized and flattened composition.

Klimt the kiss
Water Serpents I, 1904
The Kiss, 1907-1908

The man and woman are the only figures in this artwork where they are shown giving into their desires, completely untouched by time or reality. Initially, the man appears to dominate the woman due to his size, but the woman’s foot is exposed under the embellishment suggesting that she is kneeling down. Therefore, if she were standing, she would actually be larger than her male companion, and in turn dominate him. This embrace could be seen as a self-portrait, where the lovers are symbolic of the artist and his long-term partner, Emilie Flöge. However, the female figure could also be another of Klimt’s many muses or romantic conquests. As Klimt painted relentlessly, he also loved women relentlessly, and had many lovers over his lifetime.
The work presents an embracing couple, concealed behind a large golden cloak. This heavy embellishment protects and encircles the couple, reiterating the immortality of their love. Two distinctive parts constitute the image: the first part depicting the man shows a repeating geometric black and white motif, symbolising his strength, virility and masculinity. Meanwhile, the second part portrays that of the woman, where Klimt uses flowers and circles to reflect images of femininity and maternity.

Klimt the kiss
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How do you buy a work of art that hasn’t even been finished yet? You make an offer that can’t be refused. To acquire this transcendent piece of art, the Belvedere paid 25,000 crowns (or about $240,000 today). Prior to this mammoth sale, the highest price paid for a painting in Austria was a relatively paltry 500 crowns.



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