The Private Life Of A Masterpiece
(original Der Kuss) was painted by Gustav Klimt, during his â€˜golden periodâ€™, and is probably his most famous work. It depicts a couple, in various shades of gold and symbols, sharing a kiss against a bronze background.
Two figures are situated at the edge of a flowered escarpment. The man is wearing neutral coloured rectangles and a crown of vines; the woman wears brightly coloured tangent circles and flowers in her hair. The twainâ€™s embrace is enveloped by triangular vining and a veil of concentric circles.
Similarly juxtaposed couples appear in both Klimtâ€™s Beethoven Frieze and Stoclet Frieze.
In The Kiss, Klimt depicted a couple locked in an embrace. All that is visible of the couple, however, is a small segment of each person's body. The rest of the painting dissolves into shimmering, extravagant flat patterning. This patterning has clear ties to Art Nouveau and to the Arts and Crafts movement and also evokes the conflict between two- and three-dimensionality instrinsic to the work of Degas and other modernists. Paintings such as The Kiss were visual manifestations of fin-de-siecle spirit because they capture a decadence conveyed by opulent and sensuous images.