Archive for klimt

Happy Birthday Gustave Klimt!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , on July 13, 2010 by echostains

Danae 1907 Klimt

Today is the birthday of the Austrian Symbolist artist Gustave Klimt (b. 1862 – 1918).  Klimt was one of the main members of the Secession movement. 

Hygeia Klimt


 He studied in the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts until 1883 and then studied architectural painting and began his career painting Friezes and ceilings in  public buildings in Vienna.

The Kiss Klimt

He received the Golden Order of Merit from Emperor Franz Josef 1 Austria 1888.  His main subject was the female body and he is very famous for his sumptuous use of gold leaf in his work (which is known as  his Golden period).  He was very much influenced by the mosaics he saw on his travels to Italy, and also fashion, which I think shows in his work.  A wonderful account of this interesting artist’s life story can be read here.  For an interpretation of his most famous work ‘The Kiss’ and more details about Klimt, read my post ‘Behind the Paint by Gustave Klimt’

The Kiss image from here and Danae here

Family authorised website here

Behind the paint – ‘The Kiss’ by Gustav Klimt

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, BEHIND THE PAINT with tags , , , , , on March 31, 2010 by echostains

Gustav Klimt

‘The Kiss’ by Gustave Klimt (b.1862 -1918 Vienna) was painted 1907  – 1908, it is probably the Viennese artist’s most famous work.  Klimt trained at the school of Applied Arts in Vienna, but eventually broke away from the State’s patronage to form the Secession group with friends.  The group believed the promotion of the  art of unconventional Austrian painters. 

The Kiss


Klimt explorations of  human relationships  in his work was considered very ‘modern’ at the time.  He believed that no institution or person had the right of censorship over his work  His work is a synthesis of both the decorative and sumptuous Art Nouveau and Symbolism

“Enough of censorship……I want to break free”

This work was part of Klimt’s ‘Golden period’. The Kiss shows the man and woman sharing joy –  symbolically dissolving in an embrace. They stand against a background of  beautiful decoration, which is flecked with gold leaf.  The gold background is not incidental, Klimt’s father was a gold engraver by trade.  He had also learned mosaic techniques, fresco and oil painting.  This influence is seen in the carpet of flowers.  The gold is very like the mosaic found in Byzantine churches: Klimt was very much influenced by Italian mosaics he saw in Ravenna.

close up

 The couple each wear individual highly decorated gowns.   The difference in the gowns is important.  The man’s is of a more geometric patters consisting of black and white ‘masculine’ shapes.  By contrast, the woman’s is flowery – tieing her visually to the carpet of flowers she kneels on and linking her to ‘mother naure’.  Her gown does contain a little of the geometric pattern which unites her and symbolises her unity to the male.  A golden envelope envelops them, symbolically uniting the sexes.   Klimt’s work explores the themes of birth, life death.  The woman is especially depicted by turn as emotional joy bringer, temptress and child bearer.  The bodies fused together as one emphasis their unity.

Klimt loves hands and uses them expressively in his paintings. Also his use of gold, entwined couples and the sumptuousness of his highly decorated work have a hint of opulent decadence about them proclaiming the end of the century (fin de siecle)  a mixture of degeneration and but also hope for the future.

2003 Austria 100 Euro coin front

The Kiss was commemorated on a special collectors Austrian coin 2003.   The front of this euro painting coin shows Klimt in his studio. The Kiss was popular in its own time and was purchased by the Austrian State.  The Secession group was a warded international recognition because of Klimt’s status as an artist unlike Van Gogh who did not know fame whilst he lived. He is featured in ‘Beneath the paint’ here.


2003 Austria 100 Euro coin back

an interesting article about Klimt here

Transcription continued: page 18 The end of the road for now

Posted in ART, SCULPTURE, TRANSCRIPTION with tags , , , , , , on February 2, 2009 by echostains
Transcription continued pages 18……





I would very much like to explore the textures I have identified within the image.  These would translate well into ceramic: different glazes could be used to achieve this.    The image also suggest a map or an Ariel view.  However these are just experiments that I shall have to leave here for the time being.  They are warm ups for my main transcription which is going to be ‘Snow White and her Stepmother’ by Paula Rego.

transcription-figure 1 p15



transcription-figure 1 p15



The multi layered complex of Pavol Filonov’s would translate itself well to Figure 1.  Filonov was obsessed with heads and in the majority of the artist’s compositions, he used his own as the model.  In ‘Living Head’ 1924, the artist’s features almost merge into the background, whilst the nose has almost snout like proportion.  Perhaps figure 1 could be worked in the same way: some features emerging, and some disappearing into the background.  This would afford many different possibilities.

figure2- page 17

figure2- page 17



Figure 2 might benefit from the basketwork construction as used by Picasso in his composition ‘Seated Woman’ 1938.  Here the artist was creating a skeleton shape by the use of weblike lines.  As well as the possibility of transformation as a sculpture or a ceramic, this figure could be transformed into a 3D pen and ink drawing.

figure 3 transcription-p18-

figure 3 transcription-p18-





Figure 3 as Gustave Klimt’s  ‘Tree of Life’, where the artist calls into question, the blackbird, symbol of death.  Figure 3 could also be given a stylised effect and the tree bark that I derived from the positive and negative  could be worked in sections to make a collage effect or style.  This transcription would also work well with the different glazes that are used in ceramics.

This is the end of these transcription exercises. 

 The main one ‘Snow White and her Stepmother’ by Paula Rego is an extensive one, and coming soon…..