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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The intricately detail masterpiece by Gustav Klimt titled Love, showcases the classic mural of two star struck lovers as they embrace within the painting. The two hold each other tightly, illuminated by a gold perimeter and the skilful detail within the piece.

The painting is part of the artistÕs second portfolio for GerlachÕs Allegories and Emblems. The piece is an articulate example of two lovers, however the artist had broadened the scope of the topic by including symbolizing figures above the piece of work. The dark colours add to the emotion of the mural, embellished through misty textures and brush strokes within the painting, Love.

The viewer is able to witness a man and a woman and they hold onto one another, with their faces ever so nearly touching. The man gently holds the woman, as his face is higher than hers looking down upon her eyes. The womanÕs head is arched back as she closes her eyes and falls into the hands of the man. She is dressed in a white ruffled dress, covered in a sheer chiffon fabric throughout the piece. Gustav Klimt adored painting complex fabrics and textures throughout his work, as illustrated through the dress of the woman. The skill of the painter to illustrate a sheer face fabric is impeccable among others, as the art requires an extreme precision and skill. The white lace covers the womanÕs neck, slowly sinking into a large ruffles dress covering her body.

The man is dressed in dark attire that is blended into the background of the painting, with no prominent details embellished. The couple on the mural seem to represent actors on the stage; a similar piece is Actor Josef Lewinsky as Carlos (1890), where Klimt painted a mural of the actor for the theatre. The actors could represent ShakespeareÕs classic play, Romeo and Juliet, as the male actor holds the woman as her eyes are closed. Klimt broadens the scope of the painting by including a few individuals within the top of the work. The couple are watched by three frightening heads, which symbolize youth, old age and death, and the tenderness of love and life. These gloomy figures add to feel of the piece, up rising emotion within the viewer as they ponder of what the story behind the work entails.

The artist in his future work had begun incorporating the theme of symbolism through horrific faces overlooking individuals within his work. One of the artists famous paintings, Hope I (1903), illustrates a pregnant woman starring directly at the viewer, while three faces peer into her soul. The faces within the work however symbolize death, disease, old age, and madness; the fears that every individual dreads of encountering. These prominent ideas add to the piece, while engulfing the attention of the viewer.

Love is painted in a classic realist technique, prominent at the time. The piece seems to have been created for the theatre as a mural to showcase the plays occurring at the time. The striking photo stands vertically, surrounding by a gold frame that is meant to add a glimpse of life into the piece. The roses that surround the mural add the essence of purity, transforming the piece to a more pleasant feel.