The Kiss  Painting

Who was gustav klimt?

Born in Vienna, Klimt was a celebrated artist. During his Golden Phase in the early 20th century, he produced paintings using extensive gold leaf detailing and two-dimensional perspectives.

historical context

Klimt treated the human figures within his paintings as two-dimensional, and they were surrounded by flat, brightly composed, and highly ornamental decoration.

inspiration & background

The motif of two embracing figures was common in Klimt’s works. After visiting Ravenna in Italy, where he saw the Byzantine mosaics by San Vitale, Klimt composed The Kiss.

a closer look

There are several theories about the intended identities of the man and woman wrapped in a loving embrace. Some historians have argued that this composition may capture the kiss between Apollo and Daphne in the Greek myth, Metamorphoses.

reception of the kiss

Shortly before painting The Kiss, Klimt’s Vienna Ceiling mural series had caused an uproar in artistic circles. Despite this reputation, The Kiss was received with much enthusiasm.

aesthetic significance

The Kiss is a stunning culmination of many of Klimt's most distinctive stylistic fingerprints. The use of fine lines, vivid colors, and intricate and contrasting patterns make this painting unmistakably Klimt’s.

luxurious colors

Klimt's liberal use of gold inspired the name of his Golden Period. In The Kiss, we can see these vibrant colors in the stylized flowers throughout the composition.

price of the kiss

When the Austrian government bought The Kiss from Klimt, they paid a record-breaking 25,000 crowns. Today, this sum translates to around $240,000. If it were to be auctioned, it is likely that The Kiss would break sales records. In 2006, Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer sold for $135 million, so we can only imagine what The Kiss would be worth at auction today!