Details of the work "The Kiss".
The Kiss, Klimt's most famous painting, was produced between 1907-08, the peak of Klimt's 'golden period', during which he painted a number of works in a similar golden style.
The painting shows a couple embracing in a field of flowers. The man is leaning over the woman and she is clinging to him, waiting for his kiss. In terms of ornamentation, the male figure is characterised by square and rectangular shapes, while the female figure is dominated by soft lines and floral motifs. See more
A golden halo surrounds the couple, who seem to have shed an earthly weight and have been transported into an infinite, almost sacred sphere.
Klimt depicts the couple enclosed in intimacy, while the rest of the painting dissolves into shimmering, extravagant flat motifs.
Paintings such as The Kiss are visual manifestations of the fin-de-siècle spirit as they capture a decadence conveyed through opulent and sensual images. The use of gold leaf is reminiscent of medieval 'gold-backed' paintings and illuminated manuscripts, as well as earlier mosaics, and the spiral patterns of the garments are reminiscent of Bronze Age art and the decorative tendrils seen in Western art since before the Classical period.
Coming from a modest family, his father being a gilder, Gustav Klimt entered the Vienna School of Applied Arts in 1876. He continued his studies there until 1883. In 1879, he participated in the organisation of the Festzug (silver wedding of the imperial couple) under the direction of Hans Makart.
In 1883 he founded a decoration workshop with his brother Ernst Klimt and his fellow student Franz Matsch. See more
He decorated the ceilings of the Fiume Theatre in 1883, the Villa Hermes in Lainz, the Carlsbad Theatre in 1886 and the Burgtheater staircase from 1886 to 1888.
In 1900, Klimt's fresco entitled "Philosophy", considered an outrage to public morality, caused a scandal.
Gustav Klimt exhibited the fresco "Medicine" in 1901, which prompted an appeal from his patron in the Chamber of Deputies, Minister of Education von Harten.
This was followed by the culmination of the paintings on a golden background with "Danaë" and "The Kiss", two works presented at the Kunstschau, the first group exhibition by Klimt and his friends since the withdrawal of the Secession.
In 1911, Klimt travels to Rome, Brussels, London and Madrid.
Klimt died in Vienna on February 6, 1918 of a stroke, leaving many paintings unfinished.
"There is no self-portrait of me. I am not interested in my own person as an "object of representation", but in other beings, especially women, and even more so in apparitions". Gustav Klimt.