One of the most famous paintings in the world—The Kiss—was painted in the first decade of the 20th century by the eccentric Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. Klimt’s lifetime spanned the final decades of the Austrian Empire. Based in Vienna, he was known for his flowing robes and provocative public murals. Klimt’s “Golden Phase” using gold foil is perhaps his best known artistic period. However, his works included stylistic influences ranging from the classical academic painting tradition to turn-of-the-century symbolist painting.
A leader of the Vienna Secessionist artistic movement (which was associated with Art Nouveau), Klimt left behind thousands of drawings and a vast portfolio of painted works. He passed away in 1918 at the age of 55; the afterlives of his most famous works such as The Kiss have been almost as interesting as that of the truly modern artist.
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