28 de novembro de 2011

Gustav Klimt - The Kiss

The Kiss - 1907-08
Osterreichische Galerie - Vienna - Austria

The Vienna Secession of 1900 included Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the The Glasgow Four who were to influence the direction of European art and craft. Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) was a brilliant iconoclast and a key figure in the Viennese Secession and the art nouveau movement. Although he left the group in 1905, he was influenced by Margaret MacDonald, Mackintosh's wife, whose linear style included the use of semiprecious gems. Klimt major works include paintings, mural, sketches, and other art objects. His primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism. He attempted the subject of fulfillment, most notably in the final panel of Beethoven Frize, of 1902, which refers to a phrase from Shiller's Ode of Joy, "the kiss to the whole world". Klimt turned Schiller's wider political meaning into something much more personal and located the embrace in a womblike space, which remains in "The Kiss".

"The Kiss" is probably Klimt's most famous work. He began working on it in 1907 and it became the highpoint of his so-called 'Golden Period', when he painted a number of works in a similar style. It depicts a couple embracing, their bodies largely hidden by elaborate robes decorated in a style that bears little relation to any historical textile designs. The painting is decorated with circular biomorphic forms. Both figures are situated at the edge of a patch of flowery meadow. The man is wearing a robe with black and white rectangles irregularly placed on a gold background containing spiral decoration, and wears a crown of vines. The woman wears a tight-fitting dress with flower-like round or oval motifs on a background of parallel wavy lines. Her hair is sprinkled with flowers and is worn "up" in the style of the day; it forms a halo-like circle that highlights her face, and is continued under her chin by what seems to be a necklace of flowers. As well as conventional oil painting, gold leaf has been used, one of the aspects of the work that gives it a strikingly modern appearance, while evoking memories of much earlier art.

Both patterns have developed from Klimt's own personal symbolism. The image is so seductive that it is easy to miss the other, photo-Expressionist element of Klimt's style, which can be seen in the hideously bent toes and contorted hand of the woman, and in the coloration of her flesh, which suggests putrefaction. This expressive graphic style sits provocatively alonside the voluptuous decorative excess in Klimt's work, led him to be under attack for "pornography" and "perverted excess" particularly in those works commissioned to decorate the ceiling of the University of Vienna", which a good example are the paintings Medicine, Jurisprudence and Philosophy", received at the time with revultion. However, it was this aspect of his work that later would influence his younger contemporaries.Source: Wikipedia, Wendy Osgerby, net

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