It’s starts with a spark doesn’t it. Some kind of cosmic connection. You feel a rush of adrenaline and slight fear just before that moment of connection. Then a mash of emotions and physical reactions to the act. Deep embrace and locked lips, making you and the other person, one for that moment. Obviously I am not talking about getting too close to someone in the queue at the supermarket, but a first kiss. It can be one of the most touching and dramatic physical happenings in an early relationship… this is if you’re not 14 and have braces, because honestly kissing at that age was just messy and clumsy.
I have written about Klimt before, but after talking to someone about this painting recently, it made me revisit it. Klimt’s work is full of ornately bright colours which reflect his training at the school for Decorative Arts. It also reflects this love for Egyptian and Byzantine art, using the flat and decorative manner of hieroglyphs and the gold and mosaic effect of eastern Roman styles.
Klimt was known as an oversexed workaholic, and while he never married, he did father four children. He was a ladies man, so it’s not surprising that he was so easily able to portray delicate intimacy on canvas.
We see a couple in the lock of an embrace, the man giving a tender and loving kiss to the side of the woman’s face. Her expression gives the impression of absolute love. She is knelt, in an act of submission to him, and we can note the tenderness of the hands as he cups her face and she clings to his touch. The two faces along is such beautiful imagery, that really it wasn’t necessary to do anymore to convey the feeling, but we see the love struck couple shrouded in gold, which was Klimt’s style of symbolism to express the power of love. All encompassing and consuming.
The appear to be on a blossoming ledge, this could be symbolic to the relationship itself, of the brink of a new journey together, flowers all around them, giving the picture gaiety and echoing the pictures gone by of Aphrodite, and where she stepped flowers would bloom.
The back drop is like a heavily starred night, bringing forth the romantic and mysterious. Klimt magically portrays the inner feelings of the couple in this simple yet horrendously effective piece. I find the flat appearance of the couple assists in drawing the eye to the affection display, which is essentially only 2 heads and 4 hands. The shroud of gold, pinpointing the emotions against the lush backdrop.
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