“Truth is like fire; to tell the truth means to glow and burn.” Vienna, Symbolism, Jugendstil and Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt Judith II (1909)
14 July 1862, the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt was born in Baumgarten, today a part of Vienna.
“Whoever wants to know something about me – as an artist which alone is significant – they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognize what I am and what I want. “ (Gustav Klimt)

Arguably the best known Austrian painter today, Klimt was one of the foremost representatives of the Vienna Secession when the 20th century dawned, a group of artists who broke away from the conservative Vienna Künstlerhaus, painters, sculptors and architects among them, characterised by their variant of Art Nouveau, Wiener Jugendstil.

Klimt himself played the role of the artist fascinated and driven by female beauty and the female body to perfection, living the vie de la bohème to perfection in his own manifestation – preferably wearing long robes and no smalls, sandals, having lots of cats in his studio and fathering at least 14 children on various mothers and, successful as he was during his heyday, being able to choose his patrons after his own liking.

Klimt created wonderful and probably timeless works of art, paintings and murals, in a highly decorative and often erotic, always individual and easily recognisable style, in sujet and completion of his works, not only in his allegories, true to his symbolist provenance and Japanese as well as Byzantine influences, but in his landscapes as well. Nonetheless, Klimt, as an artist, remains a phenomenon in terms of a special development. He is often quoted in popular art, paintings, advertisements as well as films, but, apart from his immediate and personal influence on his contemporaries, such as Egon Schiele, he did not spawn and inspire an artistic furthering of his unique concept of sublimating beauty.

A few of his works can be admired here:


and here (interestingly enough with a few Schieles interspersed)


And more about Gustav Klimt on: