Gustav Klimt's Der Kuss (The Kiss)
Completed in 1907, "The Kiss (Lovers)” by Gustav Klimt is one of the most famous Austrian paintings of all time. The painting shows two lovers in luxurious robes embracing and falling into the precipice below. It was painted during the artist's "Golden Period" when Klimt developed a new technique of combining gold leaf and oils with bronze paint.
In this early-twentieth-century painting, Klimt was depicting a moment in a love story that would last forever. The flowers, the jewelry, and the hair of the lovers are embellished with gold leaf, and the background is accented with silver, platinum, and gold flakes.
The painting is an allegory of human love. Based on the idea that “love is at the heart of human existence,” Klimt created a work of art that is as beautiful as it is powerful.
Klimt is telling us that the key to happiness lies in loving, and that a love as passionate as the one portrayed here can be found in all aspects of our lives. The gold leaf and platinum flakes that decorate the lovers’ clothing are as intrinsic to this painting as the love in their eyes. Their combined use enhances the work’s overall impact and makes it stand out as one of the most amazing masterpieces of modern art.
Who Painted The Kiss Painting?
The Kiss (Lovers) can be traced back to the period of the Austrian Empire (17th century) and tells the story of two lovers losing their way, finding love again, and falling in love once more. Famous Austrian painters who influenced this painting include Ulrich von Liechtenstein, Joseph Kosuth, and Joseph Stanislawski. Irrespective of the individual artists who created the painting, they developed a new type of art that would decide the evolution of European art and cut across concepts like Monet and Gauguin. Architectural paintings remain an example of this art form. They are dated to be part of the “Baroque” era composed of works from the 17th to 19th century. In contrast to medieval Europe, most European cities were built for pleasure — they were designed on a building-kind of mentality (granite and marble were the main building materials used), and there was an urban tone of life (Eleusis, Renaissance fountains, fountains in gardens, theaters, banquets, theaters, court houses, etc.).
The eyes of the viewer in the painting provides a feeling of exclusivity and exclusivity from the painting. It adds an exotic touch and enhances the theme of fall, beauty, and intrigue. Architectural paintings are also an expression of timeless design. They are the works of those who were influenced by Renaissance and Baroque art during their period. In contrast to the rigid 'I build my building’ mentality prevalent in the medieval period, architects rejected this mentality and focused on the lifestyle of the architect himself. Influences This “Golden Age” period (17th–19th century) is also known for its contribution to the design of stained glass windows. Stained glass windows were favored to highlight the story of a building and therefore add an exotic touch to the home.
During this period of time, Klimt redefined the idea of a composition as the framework of the imagination itself and the techniques used to formulate the photographers' idea of the ideal scene. Klimt was the first to use the term “indexical” to explain what every painting is about. He believed a painting is not about facts or details but about an ideal scene. Every painting is an interpretation of something else, something else's story, which showcases the beauty of humanity. We can consider “The Kiss (Lovers)” as an indexical because it is about this idea of a lovers who fall in love just like in life. The painting is said to be based on three factors: scenery (the falls, their perspective on the precipice), the people mentioned in the story, and a device (indexical device of people and things).
Where Is The Kiss Painting?
Examining the heart of the painting reveals its importance to art in the Austrian capital of Vienna. It explains how the painting is connected to the phenomenon of fleeting and transient emotions while also providing insight into Klimt’s original intentions of how he wanted his artwork to look like. Anson Shubert, a professor of art history at the University of California, Irvine, has spent years researching the painting, uncovering its hidden story. He suggested that it might have been inspired by two events that happened to Klimt prior to the painting’s completion. The first was the relationship between two other artists of his day.
On February 7, 1913, Walter Gropius, a contemporary Austrian artist, and Antonin Roth, an art historian, met for an afternoon tea in the salon of the Hofbach Building. Klimt was a guest, and when the artists saw him, they would often share the most intimate details of their lives, friendships, and creative process with one another. As we gaze at the royal coat of arms of Austria, located at the appointed location in front of the Hofbach Building, it is easy to compare the scene depicted with the romantic scene in The Kiss. Klimt took inspiration from these two artists — and their artworks —in order to complete his newest painting. After spending months on the painting, Klimt presented it to his inner circle on January 14, 1914. The members of the Budapest studio, consisting of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1867–1944), Carl Friedrich Gauss (1862–1939), and Herm von Schierbach (1863–1935), were delighted with the finished product, which they dubbed the “King and Queen of Austro-Hungary.”
In both the alchemy of gold and the painting of love, the heart is the key. In order to safely complete the painting in time, the colors had to be analyzed and double-checked. The gold leaf pieces were mixed with luminous powders to ensure that it was a safe and appropriate color. Dueling colors were also used in the preparation to avoid any mishaps while painting the ending of the painting (e.g. black on red, etc.).
This was not the first time that Klimt mixed gold leaf with other materials and colors during the life of The Kiss. In April, 1891, he mixed 27-carat gold leaf with 7-karat (26 grams) of Tuscan red and 10-karat gold leaf to create a painting of a man with two angels kissing on the Trocadero. Over the years, Klimt also mixed and matched colors constantly. He used birch bark, rhodes, and even graphite in creating splashes of gold into both the painting and the background.
How Much Is The Kiss Painting Worth?
The Kiss (Lovers) is a Real Art Form Klimt also painted many iconic works of art, including: Two sisters, Jidochon and Myrtles, influenced the look of many paintings owned by the Royal Academy, like Monet’s Water Lilies. The highly stylized paintings of this sisters are attributed with supporting the rapid growth of the art form of Impressionism. Later, Kandinsky also greatly inspired the modernist style known as Cubism. Curators admire these objects as they are beautiful. Yet, you may ask yourself, “How much is the painting worth?” After all, it was purchased by an importer for the princeling Gustav III in 1887. The answer is: There is no answer because the price of paintings depends on where it was acquired, and its intrinsic worth as a work of art.
Two paintings are technically the same in value. However, the value of paintings in private collections greatly differs from museums to private collections. Understanding the value of a painting increases our enjoyment of spending time with it because we’ll realize that the painting we just spent money to see is worth more than we imagined. Value comes from adding context. It’s the sum of its parts — how much different parts add to the total sum.
Let’s look at The Kiss painting, for example. Upon opening the box, we see a curtain that gently closes. We walk around the painting, admiring each leaf, swirls of gold, and curls of platinum. The rosebud made of gold and silver leaves is a better testimony to 1887 than the portrait of a dead loved one, including a woman with hair of a color similar to the dress of the dead woman that’s paintings hanging her portrait to a black backdrop. Because each element adds to the sum total of the painting, we can’t simply remove one of them and expect it to diminish the value of the painting. A rosebud of gold and silver does not negatively affect a painting’s value because the painting is decorated with such high quality gold leaf applied to the painting and placed on a black background. Similarly, we shouldn’t remove the rose in the painting because the painting is decorated with other high-quality materials, such as flowers, jewels, and hair. In this painting, the scene has been well crafted. The gold leaf, the quality of the flowers, base tones of the colors, and the timeline of the painting’s creation completes the scene. We would be surprised to see a woman with platinum hair, a rare color in the early-twentieth-century Austria.