Gustav Klimt: Gold-laced Femininity And Erotic Surrealism

Image for post
Image for post

Gustav Klimt, (born July 14th, 1862) was a famous Austrian symbolist and expressionist painter. Famed for his world-renowned golden era painting; “The Kiss”. His demure, often erotic and surreal paintings moved boldly away from traditional styles and passionately into the fires of suggestion, sexual expression, and female identity.

Image for post
Image for post
The Kiss — A gorgeous example of male-female union, a man, adorned with phallic, long and masculine symbolism and a pan-esque leaf crown, embraces a woman, embellished with round soft and gentle floral imagery. The man brings objectivity and strength; black and white. His lover; the woman offers a burst of color, softness, gentility, and sophistication.

Klimt created a range of strange, opulent and cultured visuals, ranging from murals, sketches, and gold-leafed designs. Focused avidly on the female form, Klimt’s study of femininity was often ostracized; judged as ‘pornographic’ and gratuitous.

However; when we examine Klimt’s bold and gutsy mastery, we see a gorgeously sensual insight into the power, mystery, passion, and love that is encapsulated in the floral decadence of femininity. When compared to other representations of women in the 19th Century art sphere, we see many meek, and mild and acutely unvaried depictions of damsels and dames, undeveloped, under-powered and impersonal.

Klimt offered us a real, raw, anatomically accurate and imperfect array of bewitching femmes, using their bodies, elongated poses and rouged expressions as an inlet to the mind.

Image for post
Image for post
The Virgins — Colourful spirals and explosions of intimacy surround this entangled bundle of female friendship. It seemed Klimt held a real understanding of the connection between women, in these hard times. Mosaic Artwork by Mosaics Lab
Image for post
Image for post
A portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer — classic Klimt symbol and surrealism make up the majority of this entrancing visual, surrounding the fine lady Adele, backed with negative yet textured space.

In his early artistic plight, Klimt was a successful architectural painter, and became more scandalous as his personal work developed and he completed a ceiling mural for the Great Hall at the University of Vienna; this was also branded as distasteful by critics.

Refusing to undertake any further public works after his criticism, he committed to his private study, leading on to the birth of his famous golden phase, where gold leaf and symbol mingled with his moody and witchy female forms.

Image for post
Image for post
A young Klimt, all of the passion and creativity can be seen behind those striking eyes.
Image for post
Image for post
The ceiling Mural at the Great Hall — criticized as distasteful and pornographic.

Klimt’s keen eye for the power and capacity of femininity and its many forms is most clear in his piece; The Three Ages of Woman, depicting the life cycle of a woman from infancy to old age. In this gorgeously intimate piece, a young, rouge-cheeked mother holds her infant daughter in a loving embrace, overshadowed by the impending cold caress of old age above her in a twisted, dark and seemingly defeated form. The indifferent, often brutal decay of life seems remedied by the floral softness of the relationships between the mother and child in the painting, representing hope through the vast neutrality and certain decay of existence, and the beauty in balance of life and death.

Image for post
Image for post
The Three Ages of Woman
The close bond between mother and child — Beautifully articulated and decorated with symbols of life.
Image for post
Image for post
Sea Serpents — Elegant, long-bodied women seem to glide through an undetectable body of water, with deeply knowing faces and flowing, flowered hair. Klimt’s mysticism is beautifully represented here.
Image for post
Image for post
Danae — A peaceful, slumbering red-headed woman tastefully enveloped in fine satin and patterned gold.

The famous Tree of Life painting combines his well-beloved female mysticism and connectedness but focuses on the swirling, spiraling movements of the tree of life, representing the fruitfulness of life and its connection to all beings.

This fantastically spiritual piece suggests a deeply numinous nature to its artist; Klimt’s readily awake eyes see not only human divinity but recognize the omnipresence of spiritual power among all things.

Image for post
Image for post
The Tree of Life
Image for post
Image for post
Mosaics Artwork reproduction of The Tree of Life by Mosaics Lab

Has Klimt’s work inspired you to add some surrealist charm to your home?

Like this? Click “︎clap” and “Follow” to catch the next one, and subscribe to our newsletter HERE to keep in touch!

Follow our story on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

We add new works every day, check our latest Mosaic Art collection HERE

Written by

We handcraft top-quality, unique and customizable mosaics for any surface and space. IG/FB: @MosaicsLab | Mosaicslab.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store