Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday History
Gustav Klimt
"The Kiss"1907-1908
Oil and gold leaf on canvas - 70" x 70"

The work of Gustav Klimt deals heavily with romance - something that is clearly evident in "The Kiss" and most other works he created in his illustrious career. A man who painted at the time of the expressionists, Klimt was the founder of the Vienna Secession - a group that had no signature style but promoted young artists and members of the movement through print media and gallery shows from 1897 - 1908. When you look at a piece by Klimt, especially from his "Golden Phase," it is easy to lose the figure amongst the lavish pattern work. I've always wondered - where did this style come from? - it was so unique to Klimt and something that makes his work immediately recognizable. I found this description on the good ol' wikipedia that brought some insight to my wonderings:
Art historians note an eclectic range of influences contributing to Klimt's distinct style, including Egyptian, Minoan, Classical Greek, and Byzantine inspirations. Klimt was also inspired by the engravings of Albrecht Dürer, late medieval European painting, and Japanese Rimpa school. His mature works are characterized by a rejection of earlier naturalistic styles, such as The Glasgow School, from which he was heavily influenced, and make use of symbols or symbolic elements to convey psychological ideas and emphasize the "freedom" of art from traditional culture.
So what does that have to do with you might you ask (at least I hope you do)? Find the connections between the work of Klimt and the cultures listed above. I look forward to your results and encourage you to compare and contrast your conclusions.
Happy Monday!

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