Gustav Klimt was an Austrian painter, draftsman, engraver, and designer, who was born on July 14, 1862, and died in his native country in 1918, at the age of 55. His inclination for art can be said to come from his father, particularly since he was a gold engraver. At the age of 14, Klimt began to cultivate his heritage and artistic talents by obtaining a scholarship that allowed him to enroll in the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, where he trained as a painter and interior decorator.
Klimt began his career as an interior painter doing work on large public buildings, in which he developed some allegorical themes that turned out to be distinctive components in his later work. In 1888 he was made an honorary member of the Universities of Munich and Vienna. When his father and his brother Ernst, also an artist, died in 1892, Klimt was in a position to assume the economic burden of his relatives. That loss affected him a lot, since they were very close, a tragedy that, in some way, determined his artistic work ─of an academic nature─, and influenced the definition of his personal style.
1. Gustav Klimt. The three ages of woman
In 1897 a group of artists, including Klimt, founded the Austrian modernist movement called the Vienna Secession, of which this artist was its first president. The first thing this movement did was to separate itself from the conservative Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and direct its activity towards the renewal, innovation, and modernization of art, to reinterpret the styles of the past in the face of industrial production that was affecting art and society at that time. Due to its dissident and experimental nature, the aesthetics of the Secession has been considered within the avant-garde of the beginning of the 20th century.

The style of the Vienna Secession was characterized by being elegant, floral, stylized, decorative, sober and severe, at the same time, in addition to working on themes with allegorical, symbolic content, whose flat figures are configured with clean and sinuous lines in combination with geometric patterns; They were also interested in typography, a key element in their compositions, by the fusion of text and illustration; and, in some cases, they introduced expressionist-looking elements. It is worth noting that Klimt had an enormous influence on the Vienna Secession group.

2. Gustav Klimt. The Kiss.

Klimt was an artist who studied the styles of modern art, as well as Japanese, Chinese, ancient Egyptian, Mycenaean, and Byzantine art, which helped him to forge a personal style in which we can see a work of splendid decoration based on the gold ─application of the gold leaf technique: the use of a very thin sheet of gold─, and ornamental, organic and geometric elements in warm colors. Elements of an unmistakable sexual nature appear in his painting, being the figure of the woman, with a severe, dominant face, and erotic, sensual postures, one of the most recurrent themes in his work.

The works of his mature stage distanced himself from his naturalistic beginnings and focused on a progressive development of symbolic, allegorical motifs, which emphasized the freedom of spirit experienced by all the artistic avant-gardes of the early 20th century. Similarly, the treatment of flat figures, as cutouts, the balanced treatment of curved and straight lines, and the dramatic character of his compositions that anticipate the expressive value that characterizes the German expressionist movement.

3. Gustav Klimt. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.

The Three Ages of Woman, from 1905, is one of Klimt's most symbolic works in which he represents three female figures, a mother with her daughter in her arms and, behind her, another woman with a limp and withered body, who doesn’t let see his face, but only his hair. This group of female figures allude to childhood, candor; youth, beauty; and old age, the twilight of life. The geometric motifs characteristic of his style, triangles, ellipses, circles, and flowers decorates the three figures.

The Kiss, from 1908, is one of the artist's most famous works. Although Klimt did not usually include the male figure in his compositions, in this case he did. The work represents two life-size lovers, a man and a woman embracing, he, standing, tilts his head and kisses her; she, given to him, on her knees, receives the kiss on her cheek; both are united by a golden mantle decorated with rectangular geometric motifs, vertically, in the case of the man; and spiral figures, circular and floral ornaments, in women. This couple is on a kind of carpet made up of flowers and plants.

As can be seen, in the aforementioned paintings the theme, the eclectic style and formal characteristics of Klimt's work can be appreciated.
Gabriela Otero. Amantes

Written by José Gregorio Noroño, 

Arte Original.

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