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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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Portrait of a Young Woman

The Portrait of a Young Woman by Gustav Klimt illustrates the light sketch of a woman dated back to 1896-97. The dark piece showcases the natural form of the woman, sketched on a large canvas. The woman behind the portrait is believed to be Klimt lover, yet however due to her sudden death and an immense heartbreak, the artist had painted over the canvas illustrating a new piece, Portrait of a Lady.

The gloomy piece exposes a woman as she is turned around, yet bends her body sideways as she looks upon the viewer. The woman holds her hands to one another in a light coloured ruffled dress. While the body of the woman is not painted in an impeccable amount of detail, the woman's face and hair is coloured in dark shades. The artist had prominently illustrates the woman's facial features in a dark pencil, colouring in her hair fully black.

The muse's bedizen eyes glare at the viewer, outlined in a dark circle. Her dark stare deepens her face behind her hair, which is shaded completely dark. The presence of the woman holds a gloomy undertone, as her shadowy features beam out the canvas.

Gustav Klimt is prominently known for sketching and painting an array of artworks that showcase the female body in its natural form. More than half of the artist's artworks depict a woman either nude or clothes. The painter was fascinated by the aesthetical elements of a woman, adding to his art piece through seductive or elegant aspects. The curves that flow amongst a woman body, shaping her form and contouring every cavern had seized the style of Klimt's work. The artist had beautifully portrayed woman through, having their presence add the exact element needs to finish a piece.

Gustav Klimt began his journey as an artist by painting realist portraits of people and landscapes. He was commissioned by the great theatre in Vienna to paint an array of real life artworks that were based on impeccable and meticulous detail. His style transitioned to an art nouveau technique as the Vienna Secession movement gained an immense amount of popularity, as artists desire a change from the realist style. As the artist entered the art nouveau phase, he developed a trademark style through his Gold Phase. The artist's father was a gold carver, teaching his son how to work with the precious metal. This skill influenced Klimt's work as he used a multitude of gold within his paintings.

These gold paintings are Klimt's most famous pieces, showcasing Byzantine mosaic patterns and allegorical symbolism throughout his work. Klimt later on transitioned to classic portraits, however instead of a realist technique, the artist had used an impressionist style within his work. He blended bright colours together, with swift brush strokes to accentuate his work. Klimt entered an expressionist stage as the rest of his contemporaries did, illustrating complex landscapes in natural lights. The artist has a large number of landscape paintings, showcasing a calm array of colours and techniques that brought joy to his life.

Through out all of these stages, the artist had paid tribute to his classic pencil on paper sketchbook he carried, manifesting his study of the female body in all its form. Portrait of a Young Woman, is a superb example of the artist's masterful work; cultivating the female presence.