Friday, March 19, 2010
Judith and the Head of Holofernes, Gustav Klimt
Beginning in 1897, The Vienna Secession was a movement of artists focused on the exploration of art and techniques outside of what was being taught in the more academic art world. One of the founding members of the group was Gustav Klimt, though several other artists aided in the founding. Done several years after the founding of the group, Klimt's Judith and the Head of Holofernes (1901) displays several aims of the Vienna Secession artists. While there wasn't a specific style seen by the artists, their general aim was to provide a venue for young artists to show their work in Vienna.
Judith and the Head of Holofernes falls into the period of Klimt's work called the "Golden Phase", and overlaps with his membership among the Vienna Secession artists. The paintings in this period are richly covered in gold leaf, and are highly focused on the use of pattern, much like is seen in Byzantine icons which Klimt may have seen on trips to Ravenna in Italy.