Klimt Gustav – “The Kiss”

In the White Hall of the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in the very center of the exhibition “Vienna at the Dawn of the 20th Century” held in 1989, the most famous of Gustav Klimt’s “golden” paintings “The Kiss” stood out powerfully and exquisitely. Its embossed decorative ornamentation, remembered either by the active rhythm of large black circles and rectangles, or by flashes of red, green, and dark blue spots in the very center of the picture, seemed to be a fragment of ancient mosaics. The nobility of gold, its dizzying glow, the mystery of the encrypted designations applied to it – everything is filled with delight and poetry here. Conceived as a single monumental block, the image of a couple in love evoked a feeling of monumentality and cosmic infinity, and a colorful meadow under the feet of lovers was presented as a synonym for the inexhaustibility of life.

The silhouette of a kissing couple grows on a flower field, from ornament and abstract forms. The color of the picture is dominated by a golden tone interspersed with bright spots of wildflowers and a rich pattern of clothes. Sensual lines, lush ornament and spicy coloring give the stage an erotic character – a symbol of luxury and decadence. This style is often referred to as the Art Nouveau style.

The combination in this and other works of the “golden period” of breathtaking splendor and vibrant vibration of life is one of the main creative discoveries of Klimt. He boldly brings together the image of an ideal world and unexpected spiritual movements of a person, aristocratic style and forced visibility of human images. The “Kiss” crowning the golden series is one of the most original variants of the synthesis of art and life, which the artists of Art Nouveau and Symbolism dreamed of.

The Moscow exhibition “Vienna at the Dawn of the 20th Century”, at which the works of Gustav Klimt of his “golden period” were shown for the first time in our country, was a real shock. Tired of coldish form-making and dosed emotions, Moscow art lovers were amazed by the temperament, courage and beauty of Klimt’s portraits and symbolic compositions. Their very style was fascinating – the radiance of golden tones, the whimsical ornamentation, the graceful bending of lines. It was a completely different shock than from the strange connection of objects in pop art or the deformation of reality in surrealism, the geometric constructions of cubism or the feverish throwings of futurism. The striking combination of decor and the image of a person signaled for the painter himself a bold exit into a new artistic space.

Klimt’s “Kiss” contains a bold creative impulse and aspiration for a new organization of the picture, based on the active and strict rhythm of geometric planes.

Year of painting: 1908.

The dimensions of the painting: 180 x 180 cm.

Material: canvas.

Writing technique: oil.

Genre: genre painting.

Style: modern.

Gallery: Belvedere Gallery, Vienna, Austria.

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