Beethoven Frieze - Panel 3

Gustav Klimt1901


Vienna, Austria

The frieze takes its theme from Richard Wagner’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and depicts humankind’s search for happiness. To symbolize this yearning, Klimt chose floating genii who lead us into the story. On the left-hand wall, this horizontal band is interrupted by a naked woman standing and a naked couple kneeling — symbols of suffering humanity — beg the knight in shining armor for help. The “Well-armed Strongman” sets off in search of happiness on humanity’s behalf.


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