A man and a woman deeply embracing each other. But the real message of the drawing is in the ornaments that cover them. The flower dress of the woman symbolizes the earth which melts under the male sun. The man’s coat is covered with ancient Egyptian sun god symbols. The background whirls mean the tree of life. Among the most well known Gustav Klimt paintings, The Fulfilment expands the lovers theme from Beethoven Freeze, with a meaning that involves life and embraces the universe. It’s based on the artist’s three mosaic friezes in 15 parts at the Stoclet Palace dining room in Brussels.
Life would have been a beautiful dream had not death stood beside it. Gustav Klimt, in his allegory of life and death, visualized death as a nasty threat standing apart from life, rather than being a part of it. There are several forms of life, right from a child to an old woman. Klimt painted Death and Life in 1910. It won the first prize in the International Art Exhibition, Rome next year. Klimt redid some parts of the painting, like some ornaments and the background, in 1915.
One of the earliest female fashion designer and entrepreneur, Emilie Louise Flöge was a revolutionary Austrian woman who designed the first local dress to wear without a corset. She sold her dresses through her own shop co-owned with sister Helene. She was Klimt’s partner and muse. Flöge, in the picture, is shown as a beautiful, modern and self-confident woman. She stands firmly between two rocks. The cushion-like patterned path behind, provides additional glow to her face.
Among the more famous Gustav Klimt paintings, Hope II depicts a pregnant woman with uncovered breasts and an elaborate shawl. She’s looking down towards her stomach that shows a human skull. It represents danger or death of her unborn child. The woman is believed to be either praying for her child or worried about an impending threat. At the feet of the woman, are three other women with heads bent. The 100.5 x 110.5 cm painting is on display at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
This 84 x 42 cm Gustav Klimt masterpiece, is a portrait of Biblical heroine Judith who killed Holofernes, the Assyrian leader. Holofernes is said to have desired Judith in his sleep. Killing him, Judith not only saved herself but also her people from slavery. The painting depicts a bold and triumphant woman enjoying her liberty. But her features look more Viennese than Middle East. The painting was completed in 1901 and has since been on display at Österreichische Galerie Belvedere.
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