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The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. For me, works have their own life. They bring us into other worlds and into ours at the same time. Sometimes where we would never have thought we could get there; others instead, in places within us that we already know.

The works tell a story. A story that often belongs to us. For me, it is like that with The Kiss by Gustav Klimt.

A golden kiss that drags me into another dimension. An elsewhere that may be the physical place that hosts it: the Belvedere in Vienna, where I have been more than once for love. Or it may be the abstract non-place that belongs to me during a kiss.


The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. The masterpiece

In the center of a 180×180 cm canvas, a man and a woman are embraced. He hugs her to the left, caressing her face. She, kidnapped, with her eyes closed, does not seem to know where she is.

Both are on a patch of green lawn that makes the scene fragile and delicate and that makes us wonder if they have noticed that they are on a cliff about to fall.

Both are wrapped in gold like the ancient medieval icons. A gold characteristic of the period of Gustav Klimt’s production following his visit to Ravenna in 1903. A gold which in the guise of man is combined with the black of vertical geometries. And in the woman’s garment instead, it becomes curved, colored and made of spirals. Precisely to underline how the union is born from the difference between the two.


Who represents

The Kiss does not seem like a passionate kiss, more like a relaxed kiss. Yet he wraps her with his firm, big, gnarled hands. And she lets herself be kidnapped, in ecstasy.

There are many hypotheses about the protagonists of the work. Some see Zeus and Hera on Mount Olympus from which the lineage of the Gods is generated. There are those who instead of the two lovers on the cliff see the transformation of the nymph Daphne after the kiss of Apollo.
The models, in reality, seem to be the same Gustav Klimt and his partner Emilie Floge.

In any case, it does not matter. The Kiss is a kiss that describes the moment when you feel out of time and that for this reason has become an icon of that non-place that we live or hope to live all at least once in life.

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, 1907-1908, Upper Belvedere, Vienna (public domain) 

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