Klimt Staircase Vienna
It’s not difficult to be over-awed enjoying the experience of the Gustav Klimt staircase at the Kunst Historisches Museum, Vienna.
The sheer technical and aesthetic brilliance is breath taking.
As you enter the Museum the staircase lies immediately ahead of you. You amble across the foyer and start to ascend the gently rising steps, being careful to avoid tripping as you indulge your senses to the full.
Your gaze flows around and your desire is to get much nearer to study the detail, but alas the distance is of course too far.
I was visiting the Autumn 2019 exhibition of Caravaggio and Bernini and as my timed ticket was not due for another hour, I sat with a coffee and drew a sketch of my view from my table.
By sketching, the beauty becomes even more apparent. You concentrate on the detail and in so doing the masterfulness of the work becomes a part of you. You become intimate with the work, you deeply absorb the enrichment it brings to your senses, you feel you are touching the artist, almost becoming as one with him.
Gustav Klimt and his brother Ernst, together with their friend Franz Matsch, completed the work in the late 19th Century and the Museum’s opening was graced by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1891.
Gustav Klimt subsequently became a leading light in the fin-de-siècle Viennese Succession when he and his compatriots broke away from ‘academic’ art to indulge in the new movement of Art Nouveau. Klimt went on to become particularly famous for his ‘Kiss’ etc etc. totally breaking away from traditional art and thus becoming quite a celebrity.
Legend has it that Klimt often painted in the nude, thus, to immediately indulge his passions with whoever was his model at the time.
Vienna is of course known for its Ferris wheel, cafes, the Hofburg, The Third Man, museums and galleries. The Kunst Historisches Museum is a must even if no other of its treasures are seen apart from the Klimt staircase.