A Kiss and a Concerto

Haydn’s Cello Concerto

#1 in C Major, 3. Allegro molto

I never tire of the pure joy surrounding this whole group of talented musicians. Isserlis is a masterful performer – a treat! Do you see the magnificent mural on the wall behind the orchestra?  Read more about the mural in Edvard Munch and The Suns  🙂

Gustav Klimt and ‘The Kiss’

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Gustav Klimt, The Kiss [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Truth is like fire;

to tell the truth means

to glow and burn.”

Gustav Klimt

Some Kiss!

For many of you, this thirty- six square foot painting needs no introduction – even those who don’t know the artist often recognize the iconic image. Painted by Austrian symbolist Gustav Klimt in 1908-09, “The Kiss” was first exhibited in 1908 – even before Klimt had completed the painting. (see Belvedere.).

The painting’s purchase by the Austrian government “thus secured for the state one of the icons of Viennese Jugendstil and indeed of European modern art.”  Franz Smola, a curator at The Belvedere, states,”‘The Kiss’ epitomizes sentimental feelings of tenderness and love and speaks to all generations of people.(CNN)  Thus, ‘The Kiss’ is both an icon of the Viennese Art Nouveau and Klimt’s most popular work.

Highlights

According to Google Arts And Culture, the painting represents “the culmination of the phase known as the “Golden Epoch”… [a decade in which] the artist created a puzzling, ornamental encoded programme that revolved around the mystery of existence, love and fulfillment through art.” 

Factors influencing Klimt include Byzantine mosaics, Ancient Egyptian mythology, Auguste Rodin’s art, and Klimt’s long relationship with Emilie Flöge, as well as Art Nouveau and  Arts and Crafts styles. The simplified forms, close cropped top image, and flattened perspective all reflect the influence of Japanese prints.

At Sunnyside: Art Nouveau

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Gustav Klimt, The Kiss [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (detail)

A Note About Japonism

Since every artist I love the most has been influenced by Japanese art, I want to read more about Klimt’s connection. One important influence on the Art Nouveau style was Japonism: the wave of enthusiasm for Japanese woodblock printing, particularly the works of Hiroshige, Hokusai, and Utagawa Kunisada which were imported into Europe beginning in the 1870s. The enterprising Siegfried Bing founded a monthly journal, Le Japon artistique in 1888, and published thirty-six issues before it ended in 1891. It influenced both collectors and artists, including Gustav Klimt. The stylized features of Japanese prints appeared in Art Nouveau graphics, porcelain, jewelry, and furniture. (wikipedia)

At Sunnyside: Japonism     Japonisme

Summary

The Kiss (in German Liebespaar, Lovers) is an oil painting with added silver and gold leaf painted by the Austrian Symbolist artist Gustav Klimt between 1907 and 1908 during the height of his “Golden Period”. The painting depicts a couple embracing one another, their bodies entwined, both wearing elaborate robes decorated in a style influenced by the contemporary Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement. Hanging in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in the Belvedere palace, Vienna, ‘The Kiss’ is widely considered to be a masterpiece of the early modern period, an icon of the Viennese Art Nouveau, and Klimt’s most popular work.

 

The Kiss’ epitomizes sentimental feelings

of tenderness and love and speaks

to all generations of people.

Franz Smola, a curator at The Belvedere

 

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Gustav Klimt, The Kiss [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (detail)

Who Is Gustav Klimt?

Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918) was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d’art.  In addition to his figurative works, which include allegories and portraits, Klimt painted landscapes. Among the artists of the Vienna Secession, Klimt was the most influenced by Japanese art and its methods.

At Sunnyside:

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Gustav Klimt, image Klimt Museum

Early Life

The second of seven children, Gustav Klimt was born in Baumgarten, near Vienna in Austria-Hungary. His mother had unrealized musical ambitions, and his father was a gold engraver.[4]

Early Work

Early in his artistic career, Klimt revered Vienna’s foremost history painter of the time, Hans Makart.  Klimt readily accepted the principles of his conservative training (1876-1883) while he studied architectural painting at what is now called the University of Applied Arts Vienna,  In fact, Klimt’s early work may be classified as academic.[4]

Career Course

Klimt became one of the founding members and president of the Vienna Secession in 1897 and remained in the group until 1908. The group declared no manifesto and did not set out to encourage any particular style—Naturalists, Realists, and Symbolists all coexisted. Among these artists, Klimt was most influenced by Japanese art and methods.

Google Arts and Culture summarizes the course of Klimt’s career as follows:

 As he developed a more personal style, his work was the subject of controversy that culminated when the paintings he completed around 1900 for the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna were criticized as pornographic. He subsequently accepted no more public commissions, but achieved a new success with the paintings of his “golden phase”, many of which include gold leaf…

To read more about the 1894 controversy: three paintings 

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Gustav Klimt, The Kiss [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (detail)

Klimt’s Golden Phase

Fortunately, Klimt’s ‘Golden Phase’ was marked by positive critical reaction and financial success. Many of his paintings from this period included gold leaf. Klimt had previously used gold in his Pallas Athene (1898) and Judith I (1901), although the works most popularly associated with this period are the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) and The Kiss (1907–08).  (wikipedia)

“I have never painted a self-portrait…

There is nothing special about me.

Gustav Klimt

“Nothing Special”  ?!!!

In a rare writing called “Commentary on a non-existent self-portrait”, Klimt states “I have never painted a self-portrait. I am less interested in myself as a subject for a painting than I am in other people, above all women… There is nothing special about me. I am a painter who paints day after day from morning to night … Who ever wants to know something about me … ought to look carefully at my pictures.”[22]

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Gustav Klimt, The Kiss [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (detail)

😊

“I have never painted a self-portrait…

There is nothing special about me.

I am a painter who paints day after day

from morning to night … Who ever wants

to know something about me …

ought to look carefully at my pictures.”

😊

OK. I can do that.

Click for enlarged detail :

(gallery best viewed At Sunnyside)

Add to Sunnyside’s Bucket List:

See ‘The Kiss’ in person at The Belvedere

Image Details

Image Credit

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons and Google Arts and Culture, Location: Belvedere.

Gustav Klimt, photograph from Klimt Museum.

Music Credit

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Gustav Klimt, The Kiss [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (detail)

Sources

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The Kiss – Gustav Klimt – Google Cultural Institute.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:The_Kiss_-_Gustav_Klimt_-_Google_Cultural_Institute.jpg&oldid=306653901 (accessed January 16, 2019).

“Gustav Klimt and his enduring ‘Kiss'”. CNN Style. 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2018-03-21. 

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, 1907-8, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 180 x 180 cm (Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna).https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRUOACBkFRg Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker (accessed 16 Jan 2019).

 

Wikipedia contributors, “Gustav Klimt,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gustav_Klimt&oldid=876320094 (accessed January 16, 2019).

Google Arts and Culture, “Gustav Klimt”, https://artsandculture.google.com/entity/m03869 (accessed 16 Jan 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “The Kiss (Klimt),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Kiss_(Klimt)&oldid=871652133 (accessed January 16, 2019).

Google Arts and Culture, “The Kiss” by Gustave Klimt, https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/the-kiss/HQGxUutM_F6ZGg (accessed 16 Jan 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “Art Nouveau,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Art_Nouveau&oldid=876644538 (accessed January 16, 2019).

Thanks for reading! 🙂

~Sunnyside

7 Comments Add yours

  1. simplywendi says:

    YAY! this is another one of my favorite paintings. the gold is so absolutely gorgeous and the couple look over the moon in love! thank you so much for all of this wonderful information you have included! Bless You!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel the same way about it, Wendi! Thanks so much for commenting. ❤️🙏😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. simplywendi says:

        🙂 i am in such wonderful company! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your choice, Sunnyside. Transcendent.

    Liked by 1 person

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