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Beethoven Frieze: "The Arts", "Paradise Choir" and "The Embracement" (Panel 9, right sidewall)

Gustav Klimt1901

Secession

Secession
Vienna, Austria

The frieze takes its theme from Richard Wagner’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and depicts humankind’s search for happiness. In the final scene, female figures symbolizing the arts lead the way into the ideal realm of art. Klimt’s apotheosis of art consists of a kissing couple in front of the “Choir of Angels”, referring directly to Beethoven: the final chorus of Beethoven’s Ninth, based on Friedrich von Schiller’s Ode to Joy, contains the words “This kiss to the whole world.”

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