Mini Masterpieces – GUSTAV KLIMT

The second mini canvas I will be painting this year in based on the artist Klimt. It is quite a leap from the abstract work of Rothko last month – to Klimt’s highly detailed and patterned works of art, but he has been one of my favourite artists for a while now and I couldn’t wait to attempt to copy one of his pieces of work.

Art is a line around your thoughts.

I believe I first noticed Klimt when I was watching the film “This Means War” where Chris Pine takes Reese Witherspoon on a date to see her favourite Klimt paintings. The scene is pretty funny and the movie was okay I guess – but what I’ve always remembered is when they unveil The Kiss – one of Klimt’s most famous paintings. And I just thought it was beautiful and serene and very gold!

 

Gustav Klimt's The Kiss

Klimt was born in 1862 near Vienna and studied architectural painting in university before going into business with his brother and friend. They called themselves the company of artists and painted interior murals and ceilings in large public buildings.


 In 1892 Klimt’s father and brother both died and he was left to support his and his brothers family. Some experts say this tragedies affected his artistic vision, helping him move towards a more personal style.

Klimt

I have never painted a self-portrait. I am less interested in myself as a subject for a painting than I am in other people, above all women

Woman were the main subject for his works, sometimes getting him into trouble. In 1894, Klimt was commissioned to create three paintings- Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence – to decorate the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna but he he was criticised for painting pornographic images and they were never put on display.

His paintings continued to evolve into his most famous – the golden phase. He received positive critical reaction and financial success from these paintings, often using gold leaf and high society woman as his subjects. 

Fufillment
Hope II
Judith and the Head of Holofernes

For this month’s study I’m painting his most famous piece: the kiss, but I think my most favourite painting from the golden phase is the portrait of Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.

Klimt died in 918, having suffered a stroke and pneumonia due to the worldwide influenza epidemic of that year. 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with the flu and 50 million worldwide died. Since his death, Klimt’s paintings have sold for some of the highest prices recorded for individual works of art. His painting Adele Bloch-Bauer II, sold for $150 million in 2016. 

There is nothing special about me. I am a painter who paints day after day from morning to night … Who ever wants to know something about me … ought to look carefully at my pictures

This was just a little look at Klimt, his life and work – go check out his stuff online (or even better – in a museum) and don’t forget to look carefully at his pictures!

Check out the process video on my YouTube channel!

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