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’
“Truth is like fire;
to tell the truth means
to glow and burn.”
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.
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.
More At Sunnyside
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)
More At Sunnyside
- Van Gogh & Japan: Part 1
- Van Gogh & Japan: Part 2
- Edouard Vuillard
- Lilla Cabot Perry: The Blue Kimono (1915)
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
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.
More At Sunnyside
- See a Klimt portrait: Gustav Klimt: Mädchen im Grünen [Girl in the Foliage] 1896
- See a Klimt landscape:Gustav Klimt: Cottage Garden (1907)
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.
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.
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
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.
“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.”
Who ever wants
to know something about me …
ought to look carefully at my pictures.”
OK. I can do that.
Click for enlarged detail
Slideshow best viewed At Sunnyside
- Title: The Kiss
- Creator: Gustav Klimt
- Date: 1908-1909
- Physical Dimensions: w180 x h180 cm (almost 6 feet x 6 feet)
- Type: Oil on canvas
- External Link: https://digital.belvedere.at/objects/6678/der-kuss-liebespaar?ctx=18dfc034-1aaa-4ff5-b317-c445eaef1456&idx=4
Gustav Klimt, photograph from Klimt Museum.
- Norwegian Chamber Orchestra
- Steven Isserlis, cello
- Anthony Marwood, leader
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, 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).
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See ‘The Kiss’ in person at The Belvedere
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