As it's Valentine’s Day we thought we would take a closer look at Gustav Klimt’s romantic icon The Kiss.
Gustav Klimt was 45 when he painted The Kiss, it was the highlight of his "Golden Phase", and is now perhaps his best known work. It was a huge hit from the moment he first showed the painting in public in 1908 (un finished) it was immediately sold. It is how housed in the the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in the Belvedere palace, Vienna.
The original was a square painting created using oil paints and applied gold leaf. The composition combines the linear Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement. Klimt was also influenced by Byzantine mosaics which he had encountered in Ravenna during his travels through Italy in 1903. Their influence can be seen both in his use of gold leaf as well as his flattening of the composition and lack of perspective in the background. The theme of intertwined lovers can lost be found in earlier works by Klimt the Beethoven Frieze and Stoclet Frieze.
There has been lots of speculation over the years as to who the models for the kiss were. It has been suggested the woman was Klimt's life-long partner Emilie Flöge, or Adele Bloch-Bauer or another anonymous model. However she could just be an amalgamation of the many women he has painted and studied over the years.