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Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862, Baumgarten, Austrian Empire — February 6, 1918, Vienna, Austria-Hungary) was an Austrian symbolist artist and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. He also produced one of the century’s most significant bodies of erotic art. The son of gold engraver and jeweler, perhaps genetically predisposed to the arts, displayed notable talent early on.

In 1876, Klimt was awarded a scholarship to the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts (Kunstgewerbeschule), where he studied until 1883. He revered the foremost history painter of the time, Hans Makart. His early art style may be classified as academic, cause he readily accepted the principles of a conservative training. At the age of 26 he received the Imperial award for his contributions to murals painted in the Burgtheater in Vienna.

His simple life was somewhat cloistered, devoted to his art style and family and little else except the Secessionist Movement, and he avoided café society and other artists socially. Klimt’s fame usually brought patrons to his door, and he could afford to be highly selective. His painting method was very deliberate and painstaking at times and he required lengthy sittings by his subjects.

Although his artworks were not widely accepted during his life, some of the pieces that Gustav Klimt did create during his career, are today seen as some of the most important and influential pieces to come out of Austria. Despite the sarcastic comments and critics, Klimt until his death remained a favorite of the public and his paintings got some of the highest prices, recorded for individual works of art.

Attributes of work by Gustav Klimt:
he never painted a single self-portrait and never claimed to be revolutionizing art in any way. Early in his artistic career, he was a successful painter of architectural decorations in a conventional manner. With the groundbreaking Secession, Klimt’s primary aim was to call attention to underappreciated Viennese artists and in turn to call their attention to the much broader world of modern art beyond Austria’s borders. In this sense he is responsible for helping to transform Vienna into a leading center for culture and the arts at the turn of the century. The primary subject was the female body, and his paintings are marked by a frank eroticism. According to his biography, the viewer "should seek to recognize what I am and what I want." In the early 1900s, Klimt was in the midst of what is commonly referred to as his art nouveau "Golden Phase". He created a series of paintings that made extensive use of ornamental gold leaf and a flat, two-dimensional perspective reminiscent of Byzantine mosaics to create striking iconic figures.

The most famous Klimt’s artworks
are distinguished by the elegant gold or coloured decoration, often of a phallic shape that conceals the more erotic positions of the drawings upon which many of his paintings are based. This can be seen in such works as "The kiss", "Portrait Of Adele Bloch-Bauer", "Judith and Holofernes", "Pallas Athena", "Danae", "The naked truth", "The three ages of women". His mature paintings are characterized by a rejection of earlier naturalistic styles, and make use of symbols or symbolic elements to convey psychological ideas and emphasize the "freedom" of art from traditional culture.

Artist’s evolution: art nouveau works
Art historians note an eclectic range of influences contributing to Klimt’s distinct style, including Egyptian, Minoan, Classical Greek, and Byzantine inspirations. He was also inspired by the engravings of Albrecht Dürer, late medieval European painting, and Japanese Rimpa School.

In 1897 Klimt became one of the founding members and president of the Vienna Secession and of the group’s periodical, "Sacred Spring". He remained with the "Jugenstil"(Art Nouveau style) until 1908. The group’s goals were to provide exhibitions for unconventional young artists, to bring the best foreign works to Vienna, and to publish its own magazine to showcase members' work. The group declared no manifesto and did not set out to encourage any particular style -- Naturalists, Realists, and Symbolists all coexisted. The government supported their efforts and gave them a lease on public land to erect an exhibition hall.

In 1894, Klimt created three paintings to decorate the ceiling of the Great Hall in the University of Vienna. Not completed until the turn of the century, his three paintings, Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence were criticized for their radical themes and material, which was called "pornographic". Klimt had transformed traditional allegory and symbolism into a new language which was more overtly sexual, and hence more disturbing. The public outcry came from all quarters — political, aesthetic, and religious. As a result, they were not displayed on the ceiling of the Great Hall. This would be the last public commission accepted by the artist. All three paintings were destroyed by retreating SS forces in May 1945. His Nuda Verita (1899) defined his bid to further shake up the establishment. The starkly naked red-headed woman holds the mirror of truth, while above it is a quote by Schiller in stylized lettering, "If you cannot please everyone with your deeds and your art, pleases a few. To please many is bad."

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Artworks liked by

Painting and music are as far apart as they are close. In an effort to convey the musical character of a situation or the sound of certain compositions, artists often depicted people playing music with instruments , and composers invented a special genre — symphonic sketch
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Read more
. However, the kinship of music and painting is deeper; composition, rhythm, colour are intrinsic properties of both art and…

Natalya Kandaurova
, November 15, 2016 03:14 PM 0
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Ну, это авторская подборка, так что...:)
Evgeniya Khapalova
, September 22, 2017 11:51 PM 1
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Волшебная подборка. Творчество музыканта и художника соединилось в единое.Благодарю за красоту и интересную информацию.
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Judith and Salome were high-profile and strong-willed women. Both acted decisively and used their attractiveness as a weapon. Men often lost their heads when they were around. In painting, Judith and Salome often symbolize the same thing – the predatory, destructive and fatal feminine beauty. As the phrase goes, a strong woman is both soft and powerful, she is both practical and spiritual. And…

Lena Terletsky
, December 2, 2018 03:49 PM 1
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Brilliantly and ingeniously written article. Bravo.
This text was originally published in Russian and automatically translated to English.
Alexandra Shpetnaya
, December 4, 2018 09:04 PM 2
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The spool is an old Russian mass measure or a special valve that redistributes gas or liquid. The profession is called - gilder! And not gold - it is the vacuum truck!
This text was originally published in Russian and automatically translated to English.
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Artworks by the artist
239 artworks total
Gustav Klimt. Kiss
1908, 180×180 cm
Gustav Klimt. Afina Pallada
Afina Pallada
1898, 75×75 cm
Gustav Klimt. Music
1895, 37×44.5 cm
Gustav Klimt. Judith and Holofernes
Judith and Holofernes
1901, 84×42 cm
Gustav Klimt. The old Royal theatre
The old Royal theatre
1889, 82×92 cm
Gustav Klimt. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I
1907, 138×138 cm
Gustav Klimt. Hygieia. A fragment of the painting "Medicine" (the ceiling Paintings for Vienna University)
Hygieia. A fragment of the painting "Medicine" (the ceiling Paintings for Vienna University)
Gustav Klimt. Portrait of Maria Munk (unfinished)
Portrait of Maria Munk (unfinished)
1918, 180×90 cm
Gustav Klimt. Adam and eve (unfinished)
Adam and eve (unfinished)
1917, 173×60 cm
View 241 artworks by the artist