Gustav Klimt: Gold-laced Femininity And Erotic Surrealism
(4 min read) Gustav Klimt, (born July 14th, 1862) was a famous Austrian symbolist and expressionist painter. Famed for his world-renowned golden era painting; “The Kiss”. His demure, often erotic and surreal paintings moved boldly away from traditional styles, and passionately into the fires of suggestion, sexual expression and female identity.
Klimt created a range of strange, opulent and cultured visuals, ranging from murals, sketches, and gold-leafed designs. Focused avidly on the female form, Klimt’s study of femininity was often ostracized; judged as ‘pornographic’ and gratuitous.
However; when we examine Klimt’s bold and gutsy mastery, we see a gorgeously sensual insight into the power, mystery, passion, and love that is encapsulated in the floral decadence of femininity. When compared to other representations of women in the 19th Century art sphere, we see many meek, and mild and acutely unvaried depictions of damsels and dames, undeveloped, under-powered and impersonal.
Klimt offered us a real, raw, anatomically accurate and imperfect array of bewitching femmes, using their bodies, elongated poses and rouged expressions as an inlet to the mind.
In his early artistic plight, Klimt was a successful architectural painter, and became more scandalous as his personal work developed and he completed a ceiling mural for the Great Hall at the University of Vienna; this was also branded as distasteful by critics.
Refusing to undertake any further public works after his criticism, he committed to his private study, leading on to the birth of his famous golden phase, where gold leaf and symbol mingled with his moody and witchy female forms.
Klimt’s keen eye for the power and capacity of femininity and its many forms is most clear in his piece; The Three Ages of Woman, depicting the life cycle of a woman from infancy to old age. In this gorgeously intimate piece, a young, rouge-cheeked mother holds her infant daughter in a loving embrace, overshadowed by the impending cold caress of old age above her in a twisted, dark and seemingly defeated form. The indifferent, often brutal decay of life seems remedied by the floral softness of the relationships between the mother and child in the painting, representing hope through the vast neutrality and certain decay of existence, and the beauty in balance of life and death.
The famous Tree of Life painting combines his well-beloved female mysticism and connectedness but focuses on the swirling, spiraling movements of the tree of life, representing the fruitfulness of life and its connection to all beings.
This fantastically spiritual piece suggests a deeply numinous nature to its artist; Klimt’s readily awake eyes see not only human divinity but recognize the omnipresence of spiritual power among all things.
Has Klimt’s work inspired you to add some surrealist charm to your home?
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