What do you know about kisses? Surely, after some pleasant memories, the world-famous modern art masterpiece by the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt could come to your mind. He was against the artistic traditions of his time. He even created the Vienna Secession society including innovative young artists.
Let’s take a look at the famous modern art Gustav Klimt paintings.
1. Judith, 1901
This work belongs to one of the first paintings in the golden period of the artist. It is distinguished by a special attractiveness of the female image and a high degree of decorativeness. It depicts a beautiful Jewish woman from a biblical story. She charmed the commander of the Assyrian army, who captured Judith’s hometown, to save her city. Gustav Klimt portrays her at the moment when she leaves the tent with the commander’s severed head.
Despite the fact that the image of Judith dates back to ancient times, the artist endowed her with modern features. Her expressive face, laid hair look like of any woman in the XX century. You can read a lot of emotions on Judith’s face – she is full of pride, triumph, and at the same time, shock and relief are read on her face. But if you look at her face separately from the storyline of the picture, you would think that the image of Judith continues to captivate the contemporary contemplator of her portrait. Her gaze and half-open mouth look alluring and sophisticated sexy. A long, sophisticated neck creates an image of vulnerability. Judith’s body is covered with a translucent thin cloth of clothing embroidered with gold thread. Gold trim and background create the feeling that Judith is illuminated by a heavenly radiance.
2. The Kiss, 1907-1908
This is the most famous painting by the artist. The kiss painting refers to the golden period of his work, falling to the peak of the author’s creative career. He began to work with gold leaf. Young Gustav gained experience with such fragile material thanks to his father, who was a jeweler and engraver.
The artist interprets the kiss as a moment of special intimacy and unity of man and woman. There is a theory that the painting depicts the artist himself and Emilia Flöge. They were in a long and complex relationship until the end of his life. To see her was the last desire and words of the artist before his death.
The legend of this picture says that it was ordered by the count for the wedding gift of his beloved. When ordering, he gave a medallion, according to which the artist painted the image of a woman. Klimt is said to like this woman so much that he decided to portray the kiss as not happened, thus saving it for himself.
Art critics say Klimt’s women are always sophisticated, alluring, and sexy. And men, in their turn, are often depicted as turned away, without a face, as if without a personality.
3. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I
It was painted in 1907. Another beautiful picture of the female image was made for the wife of an influential industrialist who supported Klimt. This is the first of two portraits of Adele and it was painted from the painting of Judith.
It was assumed that this painting would be donated to the Belvedere Gallery after Adele’s death. However, the husband decided to keep the picture for himself. This picture is also called Golden Adele. It became the last one from the artist’s golden series. This painting was exhibited in the Austrian museum but was transferred by the court in the ownership of the heiress of Adele. Subsequently, the work was bought for fabulous money by the founder of the New Gallery, New York Museum.
This picture for some time ranked fourth among the most expensive paintings in the world. Ronald Lauder paid $ 135 million for it in 2006.
4. Three ages woman, 1905
In this picture, Klimt addresses the theme of changing life cycles. We see here images of infancy, maturity, and wilting. Life and death are inseparable. The first allegorical image of three age periods of women Klimt used Love in his canvas.
In the Three Ages of a woman picture, we see a young mother clinging to the head of a child. Her face radiates calmness and serenity. The little girl in her arms is sleeping sweetly. This picture would depict the atmosphere of an idyll if we had not seen the image of a skinny hunched old woman nearby. The author recalls her figure that life is fleeting and the serenity of childhood is replaced by maturity, and wilting comes after it. In this picture, as well as other female images, the author admires femininity and makes it clear that he knows the cycles, but we do not want to look into the eyes of the last one.
5. The Tree of Life, 1905 – 1909
This painting was part of a panel triptych and was created to decorate the dining room in the Stockle Palace in Brussels. The canvas is made in the artist’s characteristic gold tones and patchwork style.
The tree of life is a mythological image of many peoples and symbolizes life in all its manifestations. The roots of the tree are the ancestors and the past, the trunk is the present and what people build in their lives. Branches and fruits are a symbol of the future and heritage that people will leave behind. A gloomy, dark bird sitting on branches in the middle of the panel is a way of death that arrives when no one is waiting for it.
This canvas became a real decoration of the palace due to its rich palette of golden flowers. This panel was the last impressive order that Klimt completed. This work may well be considered the peak of his work.
Klimt’s contemporaries couldn’t appreciate most of his work, especially the Freudian motifs in his images that remained incomprehensible. Klimt is one of the artists who is ahead of his time and has become an object of imitation for many generations of artists.