The Golden Kiss ~ Happy Birthday Gustav Klimt!

By Marina Rybak

If you are born in the sign of Cancer, precisely on the fourteenth of July, you may be thrilled to find out that you share your special day with Gustav Klimt. An Austrian Symbolist artist and co-founder of the Viennese Secession art movement at the turn of the 20th century sealed his world fame with The Kiss – a painting, considered as popular as Mona Lisa.


A recognizable evocative image has transcended time and continues to fascinate modern viewers. The Kiss is the crown jewel of the artist’s “Golden Phase”, inspired by his trips to Italy, especially the Byzantine mosaics of Ravenna.

On a  perfectly square canvas,  rendered in oil, gold and silver leaf depict the lover’s embrace in a field of flowers.  The emotional intimacy of this eroticized moment, both sacred and profane is intensified by the ornamental contrast of two and three-dimensional realities. The world seems to disappear and surrender into the shimmer of this most opulent pattern.


The original masterpiece is housed at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, a Baroque “confection” and an eye feast in its own right.  What a perfect stage for a birthday celebration!

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