Sex, Love & Art Nouveau
In High School art class our first project was to create a folder that would hold all our original masterpieces for the year. Our teacher asked us all to paint or draw a replica of a work by a famous artist who inspired us. I remember being so amazed by another student’s folder. The surface was beautiful and it made me want to learn more about her painting.
It’s funny how this was over ten years ago now, but I every time I see this painting it reminds me of that art class, and much like many facets of life—it looks different to me now.
Gustav Klimt, The Kiss 1907-8. Oil on canvas
Gustav Klimt was a pioneer within the Art Nouveau (Sezessionstil) movement in Austria. Within the organic lines and decorative elements you find a couple embraced in a kiss. On first glance you might not notice the tension caused by the woman’s awkward position. Upon further investigation you’ll notice how very close the couple is to the edge of the precipice. The figures themselves are barely visible under the decorative, Art Nouveau elements. You can just barely make out where one starts and the other ends.
It’s as though they have lost themselves in a dangerous kiss.