Friday, March 28, 2014

Art Review: The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

The Kiss is Gustav Klimt’s most famous and well known painting. Produced in 1908 in Vienna, Austria and incorporated oil and gold life on the canvas (1). This was unique for his time and represents both tile works with Asiatic influence. The painting and the romance it brings forward is still wonderment to onlookers. The picture depicts a passionate relationship between a man and woman in a sort of perfect place. 

The couple is embracing, bodies entwined, wearing robes of wealth and decadence. It provides linear constructs of the Art Nouveau style and the movement of arts with crafts (2). The male is square and masculine while the woman painted is in curves to represent femininity. The couple is a pair with the woman and man equal in stature. They are in a field of flowers and appear to rise above it. 

To many this painting represents the concept that love has no bounds. Social position or worldly wealth cannot hide what goes on under the fancy clothes and standard manner of living. Love is something that has existed since the beginning of time and no matter how many layers of other stuff we pile on it the essentials are always the same. 

No one knows for sure who the female is within the picture. Some believe it is Klimt’s life-long partner Emilie Floge or Adele Bloch-Bauer (3). Her facial features are so generic that it would be difficult for a person to actually discriminate between Klimt’s many lovers and the actual subject of his painting. Whoever it was there is little doubt there was great passion in the relationship. 

Klimt was a rare artist who achieved both wealth and notoriety in his life (4). He traveled little but painted everyday from morning until night. His father was a metal engraver and he seemed to pick up the trait in his formal and informal schooling to make the works by which he is now famous. His life was prosperous until he died in 1918.

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