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Austrian-born prominent painter Gustav Klimt is known worldwide as one of the brightest representatives of Vienna Secession movement. Klimt saw the light of day for the first time On July 14, 1862. He was born the second among seven children. Early life of the eminent painter was marked by complete poverty, in which he lived while attending art school Kunstgewerbeschule. In art school, his focus was on architectural painting. With his brother Ernst and friend Franz Matsch, also enrolled in the same school, they began taking commissions, and gradually became among the most sought-after contemporary painters, receiving multiple commissions and working tirelessly on their completion.
Year 1892 marked one of the darkest periods in Klimt’s life, as both his father and his brother Ernst died and he had to assume responsibility for the well-being of his own family, as well as the family of his brother. The loss of beloved father and brother marked a new period in Klimt’s work. His paintings became more personalized. During this period, he started painting works, dedicated to the beauty of woman’s body. Gradually, it turned into obsession, with his motives being progressively more erotic. Apart from female body studies, he painted landscapes and commissioned portraits, however his primary focus in this period became eroticism and female forms.
“The Kiss” is the most well-known painting of all the masterpieces that Gustav Klimt created. It can also be considered a pivotal work of the entire Vienna Secession movement. “The Kiss” depicts two lovers in tight embrace amid a field of flowers. The golden color palette seen in the painting is characteristic of the later period in Klimt’s work. Currently, painting can be seen in Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna.
This work is one of the two portraits of Adele Bloch-Bauer, wife of a powerful industrialist, who sponsored Klimt. The later of the two works was meant to be given to Österreichische Galerie Belvedere upon Adele’s passing, however her husband refused to do it. In 2006, the portrait was purchased for $135 million by Ronald Lauder to be placed in Neue Galerie New York.
Painting, completed in 1907 depicts the moment in imaginary story of King Acrisius of Argos, who was promised to be killed by the son of his daughter Danaë. He locked his daughter up in a castle in order to keep her childless. However, Zeus has paid a visit to Danaë one night and impregnated her. The moment of Zeus coming to Danaë is depicted by clearly seen golden rain.
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