Description:
Completed in 1908, “The Kiss” is probably Gustav Klimt‘s most famous work. It depicts a couple, locked in loving embrace, situated at the edge of a flowered escarpment. The man is wearing neutral coloured rectangles and a crown of vines; the woman wears brightly coloured tangent circles and flowers in her hair. The twain are enveloped by triangular vining and a veil of concentric circles. The background dissolves into a shimmering, flat, bronze patterning, having clear ties to the Art Nouveau movement and also evokes the conflict between two- and three-dimensionality instrinsic to the work of Degas and other modernists. It is a visual manifestation of the fin-de-siecle spirit, capturing a decadence conveyed by opulent and sensuous images. It is possible that Klimt and his beloved companion, Emilie Flöge modeled for the Masterpiece. “The Kiss” is a discreet expression of Klimt’s emphasis on eroticism and the liberation therein. It falls in line with his exploration of fulfillment and the redeeming, transformative power of love and art. The piece is currently at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere Museum, which is housed in the Belvedere Palace, in Vienna, Austria.

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