Gustav Klimt Personal study

Essay by aimzy February 2004

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When looking at symbolism in my personal investigation last year I discovered the artist Gustav Klimt. I mainly concentrated on Klimt throughout the study as I really appreciated his use of patterns, colour and amazing figures. I have decided to focus on his work in this years personal study; it will give me the opportunity to explore his art further, and look at paintings that I prefer in more depth.

Klimt once stated "I have the gift of neither the spoken nor the written word, especially if I have to say something about myself or my work. Whoever wants to know something about me-as an artist, the only notable thing-ought to look carefully at my pictures and try and see in then what I am and what I want to do." This expresses his style and use of symbolism well, it is sometimes difficult to explain and identify. I love the elusive style and mysterious element which allows you to make your own interpretations.

He has been called the pre-eminent exponent of Art Nouveau. Klimt began as an artist-decorator in 1883, in association with his brother and Franz Matsoh. In 1886-92, Klimt executed mural decorations for staircases at the Burgtheater and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna; these confirmed Klimt's eclecticism and broadened his range of historical references. Klimt was a confounder and the first president of the Vienna secession, a group of modernist architects and artists who organised their own exhibition society and gave rise to the Secession Movement, or the Viennese version of Art Nouveau. He was also a frequent contributor to Ver Sacrum, the group's journal.

"Klimt's art was enriched by the struggle between contrary impulses-the sensuous, essentially naturalistic depiction of eroticism, and an almost overmastering urge to fill the canvas with brilliant, intricate decoration." Nathaniel...