The most beautiful sketches of mankind

The nude studies presented here cover the period 1888 to 1912 and cannot be attributed to a particular picture. The technical excellence of pencil or chalk sketching, often with red contrasting with blue and black strokes, is as captivating as the subtlety of the pose. They are reminiscent of the nude paintings of Bouchers or Watteau; and Klimt are hardly inferior to the masters of the 19th century: and even Bouchers’ nude sketches far surpass the quality of his own paintings.

Following the main work “Virgin” 1913, prepared with countless studies, Klimt focused his mind again on the spiritual and emotional lives of women. In his studies of female models he developed an overarching spectrum of types, qualities, states and stages of sensual consciousness – from daydreaming to euphoria. The overall cyclic movement of the female figures in the painting ‘Virgin’ was followed in a series of experiments with complex poses. In such a way Klimt exposed the model in leaning or curled positions, as well as in zigzag, as the relaxed dreamy figure in the studies below shows. . As in many paintings of the period, here the buttocks as well as the thighs, bare and covered, are particularly prominent in the front. The added feature is the tense interaction between the empty space in the lower part and the dense ‘architecture’, the overall perspective of the form arranged completely above, appearing to be more hovering. is lying down. Even in our case, the model’s posture and movements are subject to an order of spatial solidarity. The presenter, however, radiated a natural relaxation. In later times the model is reproduced not only without aestheticization, but also without ideal stylization, as in the Separation or the Golden Age. Considering the diversity of standards, realistic representations of associations as well as synthetic poses of female figures, with the highest probability of authenticity, as recently discovered, Klimt took inspiration inspired by contemporary nudes.

Life and Art seemed to form a fusion, Person and Work interacting with Klimt, as with very few artists of his time. In the person of Klimt, does not the idea of ​​the total work of art embody in the most perfect way, as in Vienna it is vividly represented by the Stoics and the magazine ‘Ver Sacrum’ of them, by poets such as Hermann Bahr and Hugo von Hofmannsthal and artists of the Vienna studio?

Wouldn’t an extremely sexy art scene correspond to a completely sexy personality? Is the open eroticism of his series of feminist figures, of female portraits and nude sketches, and – as some critics imply, his landscape paintings as well – indicative of precisely achieve the sensuous sensibility of living, which also defines his working style and studio atmosphere.

The poet and painter Albert Paris Gütersloh (1887-1973) described him as a man “with the mysterious features of a shepherd under the beard of Saint Petrus in his old age”. And Alfred Lichtwark (1852-1914), the director of the Hamburg museum, described Klimt as an athlete who liked to “compete against Hodler”. He „has the gestures of a young man, crude, the brown skin of a sailor… If he speaks, it sounds loud, with bold dialect accents. You like to tease too much…”

Writer Franz Servaes (1862-1947) recorded a visit in his studio: “Here surrounded, while he stood motionless before his easel, were mysteriously fluttering naked female beings. standing up and lying down, sprawled, languid and blooming in the sun, -always ready to follow the wave of the docile master who stood still, each time he grabbed a pose, a fleeting movement, redrawn it. very quickly that stimulates my aesthetic sense.”

Friederike Maria Beer (1891-1980), portrait of her by Egon Schiele and Klimt in 1916, said that Klimt worked hard and for a long time on her portrait, he always invited her to model, three times a week, from 3 am to 6 pm. In between drawing he took a long break, to relieve stress by chatting with the models often present in the next room – and that lasted for more than half a year. A stimulating animal-like body odor emanated from Klimt. As a woman one really has to look out for him.

Similar in tone are the flashbacks of Alma Mahler-Werfel (1896-1946). He followed her as far as Venice, and in the midst of the crowd on Markusplatz, he confessed his love for her. The manner of a secret engagement. Klimt always urged, always lured her into his studio. Obviously she meant to know very well, what awaited her there.

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