This Vienna-based painter revolutionized modernism by his depiction of women and usage of gold in his works. Here is why! Born in 1862 in Vienna, being the son on a Bohemian gold engraver-Ernst Klimt, from his earliest years he was influenced by art and usage of gold in its domains. In 1876 he decided to join the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, from which he graduated with a degree in architectural painting. He became the part of the Vienna Secessionist Movement and the leading figure in Vienna Modernism. Apart from gaining significant fame-most importantly, receiving the Golden Order of Merit from Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria, he separated himself from the Vienna society and its intellectual, ‘cafe’ lifestyle and remained rather in a shadow, in world of his highly controversial art.
In his, literal, gold phase, he made use of the gold leaf, which largely dominated his work in this period and earned him worldwide recognition. His painting were dominated by eroticism and visible glorification for the female body. Women in his works were depicted as dominant and as ‘femme fatale’, often inspired by the works of Sigmund Freud. He wanted to free himself from the tradition as something limiting and made use of symbolism to send a hidden message via his works. Ironically, his works was also aiming at showing the detrimental consequences of sexual allure, while Klimt in his latter years fathered more than 14 children.
At the beginning of the 20th century, he travelled to Venice and Ravenna to study their mosaics and the usage of gold in their structure, which had an impact on his most impressive works, like ‘The Kiss’ or ‘The Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer’.