Gustav Klimt, renowned for his sensuous, golden portraits of women in magnificent fin-de-siecle Vienna, was raised in poverty. His father, an immigrant gold engraver from Bohemia, struggled to find work in the capital of the Hapsburg Empire and the family suffered frequently from lack of funds. However, Gustav's talent as an artist was recognized early and resulted in a scholarship to the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts.
In 1903 Klimt traveled to Italy twice, visiting both Venice and Ravenna. The glittering Byzantine mosaics of these two cities influenced him greatly, and these voyages mark the beginning of his exquisite, highly refined golden style. Dense ornamentation, elaborate detail in flattened space, and extensive gold leaf intertwined with the female form are hallmarks of this period. These elements transform the canvas into a swirling decorative pattern with only the model's face and hands retaining realistic treatment.
Klimt's artistic legacy is immense. He exerted a profound influence on the decorative arts in Austria and indeed, is considered one of the most important decorative painters of the twentieth century. A dedicated artist, many of his last works are unfinished as he continued painting until his death in 1918.
16 notecards, 4 each of 4 images.