The Kiss is a work that was painted by the Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt, between the years 1907 and 1908. Klimt utilizes his personal experiences and life changes as his inspiration for the creation of perhaps his most famous work yet. He links modernity and eroticism at the center of his work, the couple’s embrace. This embrace is a quintessential expression of one of the deepest passions known to mankind, sensual love. Klimt’s color choices, use of depth, line, and balance, are all techniques that contribute to the message he is trying to convey. This couple’s love radiates passion at its strongest, the love between man and woman, and the disconnect from reality they experience as they embrace.
In order to understand the meaning behind The Kiss, one must know a little bit about the artist’s history. Klimt was born on July 14, 1862 in Baumgarten near Vienna. He studied architectural painting at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts. By 1880, Klimt and his brother collaborated and began working together. As a result, they garnered the attention of many new clients. Eventually, Klimt embarked on his own career path and started his professional painting career. He began by painting interior murals and ceilings in large public areas. In 1888, Klimt was even awarded for the murals he painted in Burg Theater. This particular mural portrayed the Golden Order of Orders from the empire of Franz Josef I of Austria. Klimt’s success and joy was quickly followed by tremendous grief when his brother and father tragically passed away, leaving him financially responsible for his family. As a result of this tragedy, Klimt’s art began to reflect the sadness and difficulty he was experiencing in his personal life. He continued on this path for a while, until he created The Kiss. Some say this painting was his magnum opus, his greatest work. Society immediately fell in love with his work, and he quickly regained his success.