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Interpreting the Art of Gustav Klimt by rob mabry
The beauty of Byzantine churches with the eye-catching gold mosaic domes as well as gorgeous artwork can be found throughout the Mediterranean and beyond, especially in Sicily, with Cathedrals such as Monreale and Italy, with St Marks in Venice. The jewel shades of silk (whose production was a state secret in the Empire) mixed with gold and enamels made Byzantine walls explosions of color. The Byzantines were aware of their impact on visitors and seemed to intentionally cultivated it, possibly along the way causing the jealousy that brought on the fourth crusade along with the Empire’s inevitable downfall.
Nowhere can the vibrant golden effect of the Byzantine empire be seen more evidently than with the artwork of celebrated artist Gustav Klimt, but his art ended up being very different from the religious art that provided his inspiration.
Commonly, Byzantine art work has two dimensional portraiture frequently associated with mythical along with religious displays, the art of Klimt has been deemed sensual and practically entirely derived from female figures. The Byzantine influence is clear in the use of mosaic forms and ornamental flourishes, jewel hues and gold. Klimt’s brother and father were gold engravers, and that is the reason behind the employment of gold in a great number of his art works. Although Klimt would not travel very much, he often went to both Ravenna and Venice so it appears in all probability that this is where he had been in contact with Byzantine art.
Klimt started off work being an muralist working with his brother as well as a close friend to color interior murals and ceilings. He received a medal honoring his work in 1888, however his method changed following the demise of his brother and father. For several years from 1897 Klimt was a member (and in the past president) of the Wiener Sezession a group of artists who balked at classic teachings and therefore seceded from the Association of Austrian Artists. Their purpose would be to deliver exhibitions for unconventional artists and bring the best of foreign Fine Art to Vienna. They did not adhere to any kind of distinct style and obtained government support consisting of a lease on some public land where by they might construct an convention hall.
Klimt’s individual work didn’t fare very well initially. Several of the works he was commissioned to generate had been turned down and thought to be ‘pornographic’. His later work was more warmly received, notably that relating to his ‘gold’ period in which he included significant amounts of Gold Leaf. In 1911 Klimt won first prize in the world exhibitions in Rome, but he left little behind apart from his art. His life was not populated with scandal, he made no self portraits and kept no records and no diary. The artist died in 1918 leaving numerous works not finished.
Three of Klimt’s works of art received several of the most ever paid for art with the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I selling for $135 million in 2006. At that time it was the largest price tag ever paid for a painting, although it has today been eclipsed by the $137 paid for Willem de Kooning’s Woman III and the $140 million paid for Jackson Pollocks No 5, 1948.
Few of us have the funds to indulge in unique fine art, or even the proper space in which to hang a good Klimt imitation, on the other hand a few of Klimt’s most popular works have been styled to be experienced as statues, and therefore they make remarkable decorative items and valuable presents for art fans or anyone who might enjoy a an art-inspired museum gift.
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