Originally tagged The Lovers, this renown piece is part of Klimt’s golden period. It shows a couple sharing joy, symbolically dissolving in an embrace. They stand against a rich decorated background flecked with gold leaf, which is not incidental; Klimt’s father was a gold engraver by trade. Gustav also learned mosaic techniques, fresco and oil painting through him. The unique treatment of gold though resembles Byzantine mosaics; Klimt was very much influenced by the paintings he saw in Ravenna, I assume pre-raphaelitian ones. This influence is especially patent in the carpet of flowers.
“Enough of censorship……I want to break free”
Klimt’s explorations of human relationships in his work were considered very modern at the time. He believed that no institution or person had the right of censorship over his work, which is a synthesis of both the decorative and sumptuous Art Nouveau (Secessionism) and Symbolism; great combo.
Personally, I find his work not as interesting as the one of Egon Schiele, but still enormoulsy stimulating because among many other things Klimt beautifully used hidden keys within his paintings. Just look at the hands and to what’s not painted, but suggested -the abysm behind the woman suggesting danger- More explicit are the geometric forms, which have been always used in Art to represent genders. Circles stand for the eternal, the instinctive, thus the feminine, while rationality is associated with squares and rectangles, the virile. Look at his neck, how it reaches out and around, and you get a sense of his physical power through the strength of that bold rectangle; how such a simple iconographic hint fully expresses here the overwhelming intensity of his desire. Not bad for a man who never married and lived with his mother until her death.
Well, this goes to all of you who celebrate the entrance of the new year according to the Chinese Solar Calendar. May the Universe bring blessed days and nights of love, wine and roses.
hé jiā huān lè 阖家欢乐
gōng xǐ fā cái, xīn nián kuài lè