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Art Analysis: The Kiss by Klimt

Gustav Klimt is the one who created an artwork called The Kiss. This is a love scene representing the tenderness of two people embracing. The love artwork is now in Vienna, in the Belvedere Museum. It causes many emotions and presents an erotic scene that is at the same time mythical. Artsper shows you the details and the meaning of the marvelous work.

The Context

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The “Medicine” work by Klimt was destroyed by the Nazis during WWII. There are other destroyed artworks of the author, which include Philosophy and Jurisprudence.

The Kiss is one of Klimt’s abstract canvas paintings created in artistic panic. At that moment, Klimt lost his reputation. The reason was his other paintings called Philosophy, Medicine, and Jurisprudence. In addition, society recognized his paintings as vulgar and pornographic. This period of his life also made him leave the Vienna Secession. It was a community that fought against conservative values in art. Klimt was the president there.

The Vienna Secession created prevocational artworks with erotic and sexual elements. Their main themes were erotic, showing people who kiss, embrace, and touch each other. Klimt had misunderstandings with the community and was forced to leave it. Despite this, he is still associated with the community. He represents it together with Egon Schiele. Klimt decided to show his work to society. So, he arranged The Kunstschau exhibition where he presented it. The event was received with fierce criticism and ended in a financial disaster. The work was highly criticized but became much more popular.

The Decorations

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss (1908-1909)

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The Kiss by Gustav Klimt is one of the figurative art samples. The painting shows a couple who embrace and kiss and are covered with a golden cloak. The cloak is a decoration that conceals the couple from view and represents their love. The cloak that covers the couple has different pictures on it. It is divided into two parts, one of which shows the woman, and the second one shows the man. They have special decorations that represent the masculinity and femininity of each of the people.

The Couple

Gustav Klimt and Emilie Flöge in a boat on the Attersee lake (1910)

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The main and the only figures in the acrylic paint canvas are the man and the woman. The man is represented as bigger than the woman, which is associated with his domination. At the same time, the woman is standing on her knees, which is why she is shorter. This means that if she were standing, she would be the dominating person if she were standing. This painting mainly represents Klimt with his partner Emilie Flöge or another woman. The reason is that Klimt had many women during his life.

The Embrace

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, Close-up on the embrace

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Art Analysis: The Kiss by Klimt slider2-image-1
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In showing an embrace in his gold paintings, Klimt shows only the woman’s face and covers the man’s face. This is the method to cause emotions and show the woman’s emotions who has a love expression on her face. The man is shown as gentle and warm as he shows tenderness by embracing the woman with his hands. The lovers are shown in gold and flowers. At the same time, they are going to the abyss, which means they can disappear.

The Golden Phase

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907)

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The Kiss is one of Klimt’s colorful paintings representing his artistic “golden phase.” Golden elements are among his favorite ones in painting. The reason for this is that his father’s profession is a goldsmith, so Klimt figured out how the gold trade works. As a result, he decided to use the golden elements in his painting, The Kiss. Due to all the elements that Klimt used, The Kiss is a fascinating artwork.

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