Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Going back to work has left me a bit tired in the area of finding inspiration.  Last night, after arriving home too late to get any torching done, I decided to cruise the web and see where I wound up.  I actually wound up studying the complexities of the styles and titles of nobility, but I stopped at some neat places along the way. 

One of the places I visited was the Wikipedia entry for Gustav Klimt, an Austrian artist who worked from the 1890s through 1918, though his most popular work dates from the time around 1907.  He got into some trouble for painting what was regarded as pornography at the time, and I suppose if he was working today he still would be censored.  As a society Americans are still shocked fairly easily.  What I like about his work is that while he does deal with adult themes, they are rendered without the smut factor.  Artists are always getting censored for mature content, but life can be pretty mature at times.  It can be pretty infantile at times too, but that is for a different post.
He was influenced from many sources, notably the classical art that influenced so many in the late 19th century, the Byzantine use of embellishment and flattened aspect of the figure, Medieval European art with regard to detail upon detail (I'm thinking of the Unicorn tapestries at the Cloisters in New York,) and his heavy use of gold leaf is similar to the Japanese art that was enjoying a revival in the late Victorian era.

The disparity of the two paintings I chose is notable.  They were only painted four years apart but seem like they were painted by different people.  I think this was because Klimt was interested in different things.  He was trained as an architectural artist in a traditional school and retained a love of the landscape and buildings around him, but he also lived in a world populated by people and represented that aspect of his life as well.  So, to sum it all up, sometimes it is a good thing to let the mind wander and watch where it takes you.

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