KasiaRecommends: Gustav Klimt. “All art is erotic.” (# 1)

in #life2 years ago (edited)

Dear Friends,

Today I would like to invite you to the extraordinary world of art! The world of ornaments, gold, beautiful women and… Gustav Klimt!

You may not know his name, but I highly doubt that you haven’t seen his paintings, especially emblematic “the Kiss”.

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I don’t really remember when I first came across his work. But it was many years ago. It was a love from the first sight! Which is surprising because in general, I am a fan of minimalism. Including the art. But somehow his pieces are extremely attractive to me. Most of them do not make me meditate on human nature ;) I simply admire their beauty and how unique they are. A true feast for my eyes.

As a consequence, I really wanted to visit Vienna in Austria. There, I could feel the spirit of “secession” (elsewhere called the Art Nouveau) while walking on the streets, appreciate facades of stunning buildings and enjoy Klimt’s work in museums:

  • Austrian Gallery Belvedere (with “the Kiss”, “Judith”),
  • Leopold Museum (“the Death and Life”, “Attersee”, “Still Pond”), and
  • Klimt Villa I Gustav Klimt Atelier.

After all, Vienna is his hometown and a city that hosts many of his paintings!

Gustav Klimt

Let’s start with a little biography, but I will only focus on what, in my opinion, are the most significant moments of his life.

Gustav was born in 1862 and was second out of seven children. His parents struggled their whole lives, but Gustav, like his 2 other brothers, was spotted since childhood as very talented and soon was awarded a scholarship in order to study in Vienna School of Arts and Crafts.

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An example of his early work.

At first, his dreams weren’t big, he “just” wanted to become a drawing teacher. But once his work gained recognition and he was able to earn money from it, his ideas developed. Gustav, his younger brother and their mutual friend funded “the Company of Artists”. Their idea was simple – to focus on well-paid commissions! They devoted their time to paint murals in the public spaces (like churches or theatres). But as a consequence of this approach, he was painting using so-called historical style, which, to put is very simply, means showing the world and the people in “photographic” way, without adding personal artistic inclinations). Their plan worked very well, they even were awarded the Golden Order of Merit from Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I!

The beginnings of the 1890s were significant to Klimt’s future development. First, he met Emilie Flöge, who will be his long-life friend, supporter, and muse. Later on, both his father and brother died. Luckily for us, those events pushed Klimt to experiment more and look for more “meaningful” ways of expressing himself.

In 1897 Gustav and some other Austrian Artists became the founding members of “the Vienna Secession” and Klimt became its first president. The movement included paintings, decorative arts, sculpting, and architecture. Vienna was not the first and alone with its liberation from classical and academic art. “The Art Nouveau”, “modernism” or “secession” was spreading throughout Europe.

On the one hand, “secessionists” didn’t declare a formal manifesto, which means there is not one style that unites the work of its artists. On the other hand they came up with a very symbolic and clear motto: “To every age its art, to every art its freedom”. These words were written on iconic “secession building” (above the entrance, and just under the golden dome) constructed in 1897 to be a place to exhibit the group.

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“Pallas Athena”

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Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war, is an important symbol for artists. “Pallas Athena”, painted by Klimt in 1898, became the group’s emblem. What stands out is Athena's posture and face that appear ready for a battle, full of stamina, strength, and resistance. She is upright, with her wide-open eyes gazing at the viewer.

“Beethoven Frieze”

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One of the Klimt’s most important works of that period is his “Beethoven Frieze” (1902) in the “secession building”. It was created to celebrate Beethoven and suppose to last only for a time of an exhibition. Therefore Klimt painted it directly on the wall (34 meters long and 2 meters high)! Fortunately, nowadays we can still admire it as the work has been preserved and well-maintained.

(…) frieze is based on Richard Wagner’s interpretation of the 9th Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven, celebrating humankind’s yearning for happiness. (…) painting shows humanity struggling to overcome hostile forces such as sickness, madness, wantonness, and intemperance, and finally finding eternal bliss in art. The singing angels and the lovers embracing in the final section of the fresco refer to the symphony’s closing choir and Friedrich Schiller’s famous Ode “To Joy”: “This kiss to the whole world!”

“Judith I”

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“Judith I” (from 1901) is one of my favourite Klimt’s paintings.
According to the legend, Judith, the biblical heroine, was able to seduce an enemy’s army General and then decapitated him. This way she saved her hometown from destruction. Before Klimt Judith was commonly seen as a symbol of wisdom, courage, and virtue.

Klimt’s Judith is portrayed in a sexual trance, half-naked and with her ecstatic expression on her face. A femme fatale, who is taking pleasure in the killing.
I must highlight that this was not the first of Klimt’s paintings that provoked a scandal because of its nudity and alleged obscenity.

The story is that there was a petition against some of his works (namely: “Philosophy”, “Medicine”, and “Jurisprudence”) that initially were to be installed in the University of Vienna. They were called “pornographic”

His response to the public – “The Golden Fish” - is brilliant!

“The Golden Fish”

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The painting, from 1903, is yet another example of what will be his trademark for many years- the use of golden leafs. Klimt’s idea was to call it “'To my Detractor”', but was advised to drop it.
The work of art shows 3 nude women and a goldfish. At the first glance, the scenery is light, vibrant and joyful. But there is something extremely intriguing about the red-haired women. Not only is she turning her bottom towards the viewer. If we look more carefully we can see that her face is also showing amusement mixed with a dose of contempt.

I hope you have enjoyed this part of Gustav Klimt’s story and art. I warmly invite you to check the second part which will be posted tomorrow :)

Sending joy!

My latest recommendations:


I love the beautiful art ..
But I do not like the works that deprive us of our values and ethics and make us as animals living on instincts (atheism)
Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

thank you for your insight! :)

Gustav Klimt is one of my favourite artists. Very good post!

I'm glad to hear that! :)

Beautiful paintings and an excellent piece of education on one very intriguing painter I had never took the chance of learning about... Great work, thank you so very much.

Namaste :)

such a kind comment! thank you :) ☀️


We come across so much art on steemit - all kinds of sketches, drawings, illustrations, etc. Yours is the first ( I must admit I'm relatively new and have not poked around all the different corners of the website) blog which explains famous artists. I always knew OF Gustave Klimt but this is the first time I'm reading a piece about WHY he's famous. It was a nice overview and gives me a great starting point to read further. Cheers!

I'm with you on this one dear @manouche

💪🏻 thanks! so happy that you enjoyed it! :)

Beautiful paintings. I have never seen or heard of them before. Thank you for your effort to collect such information.
I have benefited from you a lot. I hope to see more of you, thank you dear @k-a-s-i-a

thank you :) i'm glad i interested you :)

Amazing information and great pic like to see this kind of post

great to hear that!

Hello @k-a-s-i-a I love ur works.... I'm an artist too... And I must say that your art is unique.... I'm really inspired.... Thanks a lot!

this is not my work... Did you read the article? or at least the beginning? :/

Nice picture. I have never seen or heard of them before. Thank you for your effort to collect such information.
I have benefited from you a lot. @k-a-s-i-a. I will wait to see more of you, thank you dear.

Hello @k-a-s-i-a !
Your amazing post is selected to appear on @artshares, where we promote, support and help artists just like yourself reach a wider audience on the platform.

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Gustav must have been an amazing man then
Every idea if his art gives you a picture of history
Wish I could have one of his paintings on my wall

wonderful art.... nice writing... nothing is missing on your post.... thanks for sharing...i waiting for your next post....

thanks and good luck on Steemit!

Gustav Klimt...I remember the 1st time when I entered the Museum of Vienn, it was Mesmerising. The golden paintings, the magnitute of them...extraordinary. I have a book from there, as a memory from the museum.

Check out the museums of Romania-Bucharest, me & my husband visited 3 of them yesterday..I invite you to my post, I hope you will enjoy it and find it funny. Have a great day!


hey there! it looks crazy!:) i also ve heard that Bucharest is a beautifull city, it is definitelly on my must-see list! what do you think? :)

Yes indeed, its a multi-culture city, its for architecture, night-life, education,shopping...anything you want and need!

thank you for your reply:) I definitely want to go there plus Roumania has great mountains and this is what interests me the most!:)

really artistic images... I love them..

great to hear that!

I'm a huge fan of Klimt, so it's always nice to see his work again. Lovely article and looking forward to part 2!

have you seen his art live? good luck on steemit!:)

Sadly, i haven't yet @k-a-s-i-a but i intend to at some stage. Thank you!

Very informative ..keep sharing @k-a-s-i-a

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I'd be happy to see you around my friend!
Happy Steeming!
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your post is resteemed

Upvote This comment to Thank Kasia SOOO Much!

the pleasure is mine! :)

fancy art! I like Klimt's art. Thanks for the nice postings!:)

interesting post. well done. I read with a shock.

Beautiful post! :D