Saturday, 15 February 2014


" TO  EVERY  AGE  ITS  ART.  TO  ART  ITS  FREEDOM"


Some Art just holds your gaze & invites you to soak into it’s beauty the moment you set your eyes on it. 

“The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt has been one such work for me. My first introduction to Klimt’s work was during a tour of the Belvedere Palace, Vienna, Austria, the country that was home to the artist. 

I believe in "To each their own Art". Different Art appeals to different people, and, usually great Art captivates all.


Image: "The Kiss" 1908,   belvedere.at

"The Kiss" has minute ornamental details emerging beautifully out of gold gilding. Linear abstract patterns in the man’s costume contrast & balance circular details in the woman’s clothing perfectly. The colors are just right as is the choice of texture for the background and of the flower covered ledge. This painting holds me mesmerized..

Klimt’s journey as an artist went through many phases of inspirations & refinement before he produced this work , a part of what is termed as the “Golden Phase” – a time when he produced some of his most renowned works using gold gilding as a painting technique.  

Image: "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I", 1907,   Wikipaintings.org

The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, is another masterpiece in the series of gilded paintings. Klimt’s work is captivating in the contrasts it offers – superbly detailed human figures that look alive, draped in almost two-dimensional costumes showcasing the most brilliant patterns & colors. 


Images: 1. "Malcesine on Lake Garda", 1913;   2. "Church in Unterach on Lake Attersee", 1916  klimt.com

Klimit produced a vast body of work in his lifetime. Themes as diverse as portraits, sketches, landscapes, works interpreting & drawing from philosophies of life form a bulk of this treasure.


Images: 3-6: Sketches by Klimt

Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918) was at the forefront of the Vienna Secession movement – the Austrian counterpart of the Art Nouveau*.   


 Images: 7. Detail from "Three Ages of Woman", 1905;    8. "Farm Garden with Sunflowers", 1906    klimt.com


I was captivated by the phrase “Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Freiheit" meaning “TO EVERY AGE ITS ART. TO ART ITS FREEDOM" at the entrance of the Secession  building in Vienna. The phrase summarises the philosophy of Secession artists – to create art that drew from life around, art that was free from historical & academic bondages. 


Images: 9. "Water Serpents I", 1904 : belvedere.at;   10. "The Hope II", 1907 : wikipedia.org



Indeed, it is vital to let art, and, artists be free. It is only when artists respond to their inner voice and give form to their imagination can they produce work that is truly fine. 


Images: 11. "Portrait of Elisabeth Baroness Bachofen-Echt", 1914: klimt.com;   12. "Portrait of Frttza Riedler", 1906 : belvedere.at


It is apparent that Klimt’s art draws heavily from his own life.  He was fascinated by women and has sketched & painted the female form extensively.


Images: 13."Portrait of Johanna Staude" (unfinished), 1917 : klimt.com;   14. "Lady with Fan", 1917 : Wikipaintings.org


Klimt undertook two much celebrated wall installations. 
The first "The Beethoven Frieze" details out the human journey in search of happiness in a world full of evil & temptations and ultimately finding joy in the Arts.

Image: "The Beethovan Frieze", 1902 : klimt.com

Housed in the Secession Building at Vienna, this frieze, painted directly on the walls, was made for an exhibition held to celebrate Beethoven.


Images: Details from "The Beethovan Frieze" 15. Wolfgang Thaler; 16, 17. klimt.com; 18. wikipedia.org
 

The "Stoclet Frieze" is a set of 3 murals undertaken by Klimt for Palais Stoclet, a residence in Brussels. A variety of materials like marble, gilded tiles, enamel and semi-precious stones have been used to depict the "Tree of life".

Image: Part of "The Stoclet Frieze" 1905-11 : klimt.com

Images: Details from "The Stoclet Frieze" 19. Wikipedia.org; 20, 21. klimt.com

I feel truly enriched to have seen Gustav Klimt's varied works in the course of researching this piece. Hope you have enjoyed reading this as much :)

To all friends with an artist in them -  let your imagination soar!


* "Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art - especially the decorative arts - that was most popular during 1890–1910.….. it is now considered as an important transition between the eclectic historic revival styles of the 19th-century and Modernism." Source: Wikipedia

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