When looking at this masterpiece, you would never guess that Gustav Klimt’s job was on the line as he was creating it.
Klimt got a little too freaky for his super prude, early 20th century viewers when he created The University of Vienna ceiling painting, which included some nudes. His fans did not appreciate being faced with such ‘pornographic’ images and the painting was never displayed at the university and was actually burned by the SS forces under Hitler. From that point on he was a bit of a perv in the public eye. But Klimt DGAF’d and claimed that, “If you can not please everyone with your deeds and your art, please a few.” Haters gonna hate. You go, Gustav.
In a rush to save his reputation, Klimt was drawing and painting vigorously and was very frustrated. But something clicked for him and he began working on “The Kiss,” the painting that saved his name. Standing at nearly six feet tall and six feet wide, this painting captivates viewers with sheer size alone. It was by far his most famous painting and his most expensive as it sold for fifty times more than the most expensive painting at the time. If it were to be sold again today, though the Viennese would rather give up some choice pieces of anatomy before giving up the painting, it is said that it would break similar records.
The style of the painting is a combination of a ton of different styles and movements from different periods, including the Bronze Age, the Arts and Crafts movement, and Byzantine mosaics. But the most notable part of the painting, its gold leaf, is representative of Klimt’s artistic style and “Golden Period.” Though this could be interpreted as ever so slightly sacrilegious due to the combination of the seemingly religious use of gold and the sexual, everyday image, it is still one of the most impressive paintings in the world. So if you don’t have the dough to buy this priceless work of art, make sure to buy it replicated in the form of some kickass socks… or mugs or pretty much anything other merchandize you can think of.
Klimt still lived with his mother and spinster sisters when he painted The Kiss at the tender age of 45.
Klimt really liked sex. This painting may look sweet and innocent but really he just wanted a reason to paint a subtly erotic scene.
Feminists argue that this painting depicts a submissive female who needs a man to help her stand up while others say this is a tender embrace between two lovers.