In this week’s edition of “Canvassing the Masterpieces”, KAZoART invites you to fall in love with all of the dazzling minor details in Gustav Klimt’s iconic work, The Kiss. Let’s examine all of the lovely fine points in this golden painting.

Austrian-born painter, Klimt, made this life-sized oil-on-canvas masterpiece between 1907 and 1908. His art is characterised by its bold modernity and is linked to the Symbolist movement. Here, he demonstrates his ability to to work in several golden shades. What’s more, he embraces multiple inspirations, one of which is Japanese prints. A fine example of Art Nouveau, The Kiss embodies the idea of love and wealth from every angle.

An Ode to Love

This work praises the idea of love. A couple occupies the center of the canvas. The background is gold but slightly duller than the man and woman, which is no doubt the artist making his subjects stand out. In the foreground,there are scattered flowers which are pushed to the surface in a way that almost confronts the viewer. Gold, a symbol of power, invades the canvas in a warm yet dominant fashion. We cannot help but think that this couple is of great privilege.

These lovers seem to come straight from a dream. They are out of time’s reach or at least unaware of its passage. The world around them, if there is one at all, neither invades nor matters in their romantic bubble.

Their golden capes make us think of posh wedding apparel. Though we cannot clearly see the male and female forms, Klimt uses typically masculine and feminine patterns to highlight the difference. All of the shapes still coexist harmoniously. Empty and full spaces compensate for one another in a perfect balance. The heavily-charged patterns of their garments contrast with the flowerbed but not in a competitive manner. Rather, one that allows the two to compliment each other. The main background is dreamy, dusted with gold and stars.

4 Details you don’t want to miss

1. The Woman’s Face

Gustav Klimt, Le Baiser (1907-1908), visage des amants

A sense of abandonment emerges from her feminine features. She seems soothed, reassured and safe in the arms of the one she loves. We can barely get a glimpse of the man’s face, however. It is strategically elevated above that of the woman, drawing attention to her beauty. Filled with ardour, he is about to kiss the woman that he holds with such passion and tenderness.

2. The Patterns on the Man’s Clothing

In contrast to the curved sensuality of the female clothing next to him, the man’s clothing is adorned with hard lines, rectangles and heavy geometric patterns. Some are black while others are grey. They are simply representative of the artist’s idea of male power.

3. The Patterns on the Woman’s Clothing

There is a bit more softness emerging from the feminine garment. Embellished with blue, red, and pink flowers and voluptuous circles, the shapes take on the form of an open flower. This is no coincidence. As was the case in the man’s clothing, her floral motifs reflect female sexuality. Klimt often uses patterns such as these – he is known to play with geometric shapes in his art. The sensual lines and curves are also characteristic of the Art Nouveau style.

4. The Flower Bed

Gustav Klimt, Le Baiser, parterre fleuri

This flower-infested foreground shows Klimt’s love of nature. But of course, there’s a deeper meaning here. Obviously set in the springtime, this colourful composition of flowers and ivy represent rebirth and fertility.

A Universal Message

It is not uncommon for Klimt to link love and the spiritual divine in his art. The latter has a strong presence in this painting. Illuminated from all sides, it’s a real pleasure to behold. But beyond its aesthetics, there is a message of love. It is what unites these two on a spiritual, physical and psychological level. This same theme is carried over and conveyed equally strong in other works created during Klimt’s golden period such as Danaé (1907) and The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907).

Klimt-inspired work on KAZoART • Laura Vallée Rémond

Laura Vallée Rémond’s artistic conceptualisation is closely related to that of Gustav Klimt. A visual artists of many talents, Rémond addresses similar themes, always with undertones of fantasy. She places a special emphasis on human beings and the afterlife.

Laura Vallée Rémond, Portrait de Malika (2015)
Laura Vallée Rémond, Portrait of Malika (2015)