The two figures are situated at the edge of a patch of flowery meadow that ends under the woman's exposed feet. The man wears a robe printed with geometric patterns and subtle swirls. He wears a crown of vines while the woman wears a crown of flowers. She is shown in a flowing dress with floral patterns. The man's face is not shown to the audience and instead, his face is bent downward to press a kiss to the woman's cheek, and his hands are cradling the woman's face.
Her eyes are closed, with one arm wrapped around the man's neck, the other clinging to the front of his robe, and her face is upturned to receive the man's kiss. The patterns in the painting suggests the style of Art Nouveau and the organic forms of the Arts and Crafts movement. At the same time, the background evokes the conflict between two- and three-dimensionality intrinsic to the work of Degas and other modernists.
Paintings such as The Kiss are visual manifestations of fin-de-siecle spirit because they capture a decadence conveyed by opulent and sensuous images. The use of gold leaf recalls medieval "gold-ground" paintings, illuminated manuscripts, earlier mosaics, and the spiral patterns in the clothes recall Bronze Age art and the decorative tendrils seen in Western art since before classical times.
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Klimt’s The Kiss in Vienna
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For Klimt the flatness of the mosaics and their lack of perspective and depth only enhanced their golden brilliance, and he started to make unprecedented use of gold and silver leaf in his own work. The painting depicts a couple embracing in a field of flowers. The man is bent over the woman, and she, clinging tightly to him, awaits his kiss.
In terms of ornamentation, the male figure is characterized by square and rectangular forms , while for the female, soft lines and floral patterns are dominant. A golden halo surrounds the couple, who seem to have shaken off an earthly weight and have been transported into an infinite, almost sacred sphere.
The Kiss by Gustave Klimt
Klimt depicts the couple locked in intimacy, while the rest of the painting dissolves into shimmering, extravagant flat patterning. The patterning has clear ties to Art Nouveau and the organic forms of the Arts and Crafts movement. At the same time, the background evokes the conflict between two- and three-dimensionality intrinsic to the work of Degas and other modernists.
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Paintings such as The Kiss were visual manifestations of fin-de-siecle spirit because they capture a decadence conveyed by opulent and sensuous images. There have been numerous attempts to identify the woman portrayed in The Kiss.