Happy Birthday, Gustav Klimt

Unlike most of the twentieth century artists, Gustav Klimt was far ahead of his time. Such is the supremacy of his experimental art that it’s difficult to pin his liberated style to any particular trend. Perhaps that’s the reason why art historians also haven’t fastened him to a single movement. His work is considered to be from Symbolism, Art Nouveau and early Art & Craft movement.

Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862–Feb 6, 1918) His signature style was sandals with a long robe

though mixing different art styles on one canvas is a thrilling challenge for an artist but it is not typically what even the most experimental artist in today’s time would do. However Klimt accomplished this effortlessly, he made simple decorative patterns clubbed with semi- realistic figures look like a unique mishmash of traditional and modern art.

One of Klimt's most distinguished artwork- The Kiss

Exploring Klimt’s most celebrated artwork-‘The Kiss’ (original shown above), we realize how smoothly he mixed Symbolism and Art Nouveau. The painting shows an entwined couple symbolizing love. Intriguingly the masculine geometric shapes on the man’s gown merge very gradually in to the lady’s flowery delicate pattern symbolizing the couple’s passionate union as one. Their highly ornate garments and decorative patterns are clear characteristic of the Art Nouveau movement. Further adding to this blissful union is the surreal dreamlike setting around the couple, they seem to have been transported to a different trancelike plane against a shimmering gold plated background. Klimt being a talented draftsman pioneered gold leafing, many of his paintings were gold and silver plated, some even had precious stones.

His most famous painting being ‘The Kiss’ is widely considered to be ‘Mona Lisa’ of the early twentieth century. Inspired by ‘Klimt signature style’ many contemporary artists have paid homage to this iconic artwork.

Reproduced by Artist Dani Fonseca Photographed by Burke Heffner
Reproduced by Artist Dani Fonseca, Photographed by Burke Heffner
Harper’s Bazaar, February 200, Photo by Patrick Demarchelier
Harper’s Bazaar, February 2002, Photo by Patrick Demarchelier

 Happy Birthday, Gustav Klimt!

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