“Klimt and Antiquity – Erotic Encounters” is on display at Belvedere Museum until 08 October 2017. The exhibition is exploring the fascinating dialogue between Gustav Klimt’s work and classical art. A selection of examples from the artist’s oeuvre illustrates a fundamental shift in his understanding of antiquity. Whereas his early work, influenced by Historicism, reveals an interest in the details of classical art, after 1900 he translated the spirit of antiquity into his own formal language. The exhibition illustrates this development through juxtaposing Klimt’s work with classical vase painting and casts of sculptures that inspired the artist.
Further highlights are Klimt’s illustrations for a new edition of Dialogues of the Courtesans by Lucian (c. 120–185 A.D.). Published in 1907, this erotic compilation represents a perfect pairing of Klimt’s risqué drawings with Josef Hoffmann’s Wiener Werkstätte design to create one of European Jugendstil’s most beautiful books. Select examples of Attic red-figure vase paintings offer a glimpse of the world in which the classical author Lucian set his Dialogues of the Courtesans. Although separated by more than two millennia, the interplay between classical vase painting and Klimt’s linear art reveals surprising correlations, unveiling new perspectives on how the artist appreciated antiquity.
The exhibition is a cooperation with the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
Curator: Dr. Tobias G. Natter