The Kiss after Gustav Klimt, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 180 by 180cm, (2015).
The Kiss (Lovers)
The original painting was painted by the Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt between 1907 and 1909, the highpoint of his “Golden Period”, when he painted a number of works in a similar gilded style. A perfect square, the canvas depicts a couple embracing, their bodies entwined in elaborate robes decorated in a style influenced by both linear constructs of the contemporary Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement.
The work is composed of oil paint with applied layers of gold leaf, an aspect that gives it its strikingly modern, yet evocative appearance. The painting is now in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in the Belvedere palace, Vienna, and is widely considered a masterpiece of the early modern period. It is a symbol of Vienna Jugendstil—Viennese Art Nouveau—and is considered Klimt’s most popular work.
Here you can see the stages and techniques that I employed for this reproduction. It is a complex work that took me approximately 350 hours – underlying textured bits, lots of gold leaf and vibrant oil colours. The garden beneath the couple took me two weeks to complete.
I trained in the restoration of gold leaf Baroque picture frames during my time at the Pretoria Art Museum and this knowledge was invaluable for this project.