Gustav Klimt (*14 July 1862 in Baumgarten near Vienna, today 14th district; † 6 February 1918 in Vienna, 9th district) symbolist painter and one of the most famous members of the Viennese Art Secession movement. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches and other art objects, many of which are on display at the Vienna Secession Gallery. Klimt's main motif was the female body, and his works are characterized by an overt eroticism - nowhere is this more evident than in his numerous pencil drawings. Klimt's work is characterized by the elegant golden or colored decoration, often phallic in form, that conceals the more erotic positions of the drawings on which many of his paintings are based. This can be seen in Judith I (1901) and in The Kiss (1907-1908) and especially in Danaë (1907). One of the most common subjects Klimt used was that of the dominant woman, the femme fatale. Art historians note a variety of influences that contribute to Klimt's distinctive style, including Egyptian, Minoan, classical Greek, and Byzantine inspirations. Klimt also drew inspiration from the engravings of Albrecht Dürer, late medieval European painting, and the Japanese Rimpa school. His mature works are characterized by a rejection of earlier naturalistic styles and use symbols or symbolic elements to convey psychological ideas and emphasize art's "freedom" from traditional culture.
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158 | Death and Life (Tod und Leben), c. 1910-1915
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