Today I’ll present you “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt, painted in 1907.
“The Kiss” is an oil-on-canvas painting with added gold leaf, silver and platinum by the Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. It was painted at some point in 1907 and 1908, during the height of his “Golden Period”.
Gustav Klimt depicts the couple locked in an intimate embrace against a gold, flat background. The two figures are situated at the edge of a patch of flowery meadow that ends under the woman’s exposed feet. The man wears a robe printed with geometric patterns and subtle swirls. He wears a crown of vines while the woman wears a crown of flowers. She is shown in a flowing dress with floral patterns. The man’s face is not shown to the audience and instead, his face is bent downward to press a kiss to the woman’s cheek, and his hands are cradling the woman’s face. Her eyes are closed, with one arm wrapped around the man’s neck, the other resting gently on his hand, and her face is upturned to receive the man’s kiss.
“The Kiss” is the final painting of Klimt’s Gold Period, during which he incorporated gold leaf into his works. This practice reflects the strong influence of the gold-detailed religious art of the Middle Ages as well as the sacred works created by artists of the Byzantine Empire. As a result, some considered such paintings as “The Kiss” to be sacrilegious.
“The Kiss” is a ménage of different schools of art. The gold leaf hearkens back to such Byzantine artworks as the mosaics in the Church of San Vitale. The composition of the work reflects the influence of Japanese prints that was also evident in some earlier Impressionist paintings. The contrasting patterns of the two lovers’ cloaks reflects the Arts and Crafts movement of the era and overall, Klimt imbued “The Kiss” with elements of his signature Art Nouveau style.
Be inspired and don’t forget to fly!