Vienna & Klimt, 03-06 November 2012

Vienna, la grande dame of Central Europe, capital of one of the richest countries in the world, and it shows in every step of your way: her grandiose past as the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, her musical heritage, her architectural legacy, they are all waiting to seduce your senses… all you have to do is let yourself go… that, and a lot of walking…

Vienna & Klimt

The kiss (1907-1908)

Klimt was the purpose of our visit. This year, the Austrians have been celebrating 150 years from his birth with an  abundant programme of exhibitions in no less than 10 museums, lectures, city walks, even a musical! In the centre of all this is “Masterpieces in Focus: 150 years of Gustav Klimt”  in Belvedere. Belvedere being the owner of  the world’s largest collection of paintings by Gustav Klimt and the way this exhibition was advertised, actually we thought it’d be bigger. Anyhow, the fascination was on the quality not the quantity and, yes, we did manage to spend the best part of the day between Upper and Lower Belvedere. Klimt’s work has been copied, reproduced and reprinted countless times on all kinds of material, surfaces and objects, so much so, that one may suffer of an overdose of golden-plated-colourful-often-quite-kitsch stuff and could be excused for being in urgent need of abstinence!  But, no matter how OD’ed you are, standing in front of these masterpieces with nothing but a few centimetres distance and the occasional glass between you, your appetite is back instantly!

Judith I (1901)

These are some exquisite works of art by a great artist, which no copy or reproduction can ever do justice, the differences in techniques subtly blending into each other, the masterly depiction of natural flesh on gold, artfully arrayed colours on cloth… Klimt’s women are sirens, his lovers are stylised, their embracing enhanced by metres and metres of  fabric. Klimt’s works are  complex, vibrant, mystical, erotic, innovative, enriching. You can catch the Belvedere exhibition until 27 January 2013. But most of Klimt’s work will remain all around Vienna for way… way longer…

 

A personal favourite:

Helene Klimt (1898)

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