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The Kiss

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter with the main subject matter of his art being the female body, he was famous in his own lifetime and financially well off.

Controversy Surrounding Klimt’s art

Klimt frequently incorporated naked women into his art, at the time this was a source of controversy and criticized by some as being pornographic. Indeed Klimt was commissioned to create three pieces for the Great Hall of the University of Vienna, when they were finished they were met with public outcry and not displayed on the ceiling of the Great Hall. As with his art, Klimt was quite sexual in his personal life.


Symbolism began around the late nineteenth century and is a reaction to Realism. In Realism, the artist attempts to elevate the ordinary by painting everyday content, no deeper meaning is necessarily implied. The symbolist by contrast seeks metaphorical content and/or structure that is symbolic of some deeper meaning or great truth. 

(Click this link to see more pieces from Gustav Klimt)