The Kiss

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Klimt’s The Kiss features two figures in the centre of the composition – one male and one female. The two lovers are embracing each other, their figures intertwined, the female having one of her arm wrapped across the male’s neck while the male holds her face and leans in for a kiss on the cheek. Only the female’s face is fully visible, the male’s face being blocked by the angle of how he leans in to kiss. They kneel on the edge of a flower field, with a gold/green background. The canvas itself is a square.

In this painting, only the human elements – the skin and hair, are painted in the traditional way. It is painted in a matte, brushy texture which separates it from the other elements of the painting as it seems three dimensional. The rest are decorated in gold and silver leaf, creating a mystical atmosphere due to its glittering and extravagant effects. The clothes of the two figures are decorated with patterns and gold leaf, and a bubble of gold leaf is enveloped over them again. The robe in which the male is wearing is decorated with irregular black and white squares on top of the gold leaf, suggesting masculinity and logic, whilst the female’s dress is decorated in floral patterns, suggesting femininity. The gold bubble in which surrounds the figure suggest that they are separated from the outside world and that they were alone with only one another. The use of gold leaf on both figures also make them blend into one figure. The background, however, is not reflective but appears to be two dimensional and flat. This makes the couple even more illuminated and stands out from the composition. The golden, starry background makes the moment even more magical. The patterns on the robes and the flat background makes the painting resemble a mosaic as it focuses a lot of ornamentation.

The facial expression of the female creates a feel that the kiss is ‘enchanting’. Her closed eyes and rosy cheeks makes us know what she is at bliss, happy although she shows no

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