Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day Dreaming: Gustav Klimt

Time for another story from my European travels. I know, I know, you are thinking "Hannah, you have been back from Europe for months now, why are you still talking about it?" Well, in fact that proves to you the entire purpose of said trip - INSPIRATION! We all need it.  I need lots of it and thanks to lovely experiences like these (made possible by reallocating wardrobe funds to the plane ticket fund), it keeps coming. This has been a relaxing summer weekend and thus I start to day dream...
In Vienna, Austria, I saw a painting whose impossible beauty brought tears into my eyes. Gustav Klimt's The Kiss is so highly recognizable that you will find reproductions on everything from covers for Playstation controllers to mini figurines (yikes!). It's easy to dismiss such an overused image but I can assure the praise is warranted. I headed over to the Belvedere which houses the piece. The museum is a sight to see in it's own right being a former castle of the Viennese royalty (see some photos below). It was hard to pay any attention to the other galleries so I made a b-line for The Kiss room (kissing room?). While the Mona Lisa pretty much looks the same in a textbook as it does at the Louvre,  this real deal is stunning. First of all, it's huge! The canvas measures 5'10" square. Secondly, it's gilded, gold leaf galore! I could not look away. It's so many things - a collage, a romance, a story. It struck me how timeless the piece and Klimt's style as a whole really are. See the beauties and their descriptions below. I saw numbers 1, 2, and 4 at the Belvedere and number 8 at the Neue Pinakothek in Munich. Lastly I should add, - I was being a tad hypocritical earlier because I could not resist purchasing two Klimt magnets as souvenirs. They are displayed proudly at my desk!

1) The Kiss
2) Medecine (Hygieia) & Judith I
3) The Belvedere from afar (my photo)
4) Farm Garden with Sunflowers
5) Winged Sphinx at the Belvedere (my photo) & The Allegory of Sculpture 
6) The Tree of Life
7) The Maiden (Virgin)
8) Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

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