OK, call me a hopeless romantic. I cry every time I see the final scene in Casablanca. I indulge myself with novels that renew my faith that, despite the struggles and heartache in the world, we can emerge wiser and stronger individuals with hope for the future. And I’m always blown away by the beauty of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. The tenderness of the couple’s embrace. The beauty and wonder of the world they share together. Just can’t help myself. (And I’ve been happily married for 33 years.)
I recently saw a reproduction of The Kiss (1907-1908) when I was paging through Gustav Klimt: A Painted Fairy Tale, one of the books in Prestel’s Adventures in Art series “for the young and young at heart.” The book gives a concise, easy-to-read explanation of Vienna around 1900, influences that shaped Klimt’s evolving style, and the Vienna Art Nouveau and Secessionist movements.
The book also says that Klimt was known to wear a long artist’s smock that he didn’t wash very often and that must have smelled pretty nasty. TMI—and not very romantic, Gustav! But that won’t prevent me from enjoying the lovers in gilded, flowing robes and the flower-strewn meadows you painted. –Chris