Marie Kerner von Marilaun as a bride

Gustav Klimt1891/92


Vienna, Austria

Anton Kerner von Marilaun, a professor of botany, commissioned Gustav Klimt in 1891 to paint a portrait of his wife Marie Kerner von Marilaun, née Ebner Gräfin von Rofenstein and widowed Gräfin von Wolkenstein. Klimt was not ordered to paint her in reality, but given a photograph taken in 1862 as a reference showing Marie Kerner as a bride. It was not an unusual commission for Klimt to paint a portrait from a photograph. Other portraits from the artist's earlier years were also openly based on portrait photographs. In fact, Klimt's painting style demonstrates a particular passion for detail which seems almost hyperrealistic in places, including in the early 1890s. On the other hand, he takes the liberty in his depictions of perfecting and refining forms that could never be achieved in reality. In Klimt's portrait, the face of the duchess is an almost ideal oval shape, supported by the symmetry of her contrasting hairstyle. This exaggeration and refinement of reality is undoubtedly the reason why Klimt's painted portrait reaches another level of illusion beyond a simple photograph.


  • Title: Marie Kerner von Marilaun as a bride
  • Creator: Gustav Klimt
  • Date Created: 1891/92
  • Location Created: Austria
  • Physical Dimensions: 68,8 x 54,5 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, 2018 loan from private collection / Image by Google
  • External Link: Explore the Belvedere online collection
  • Medium: Oil on Canvas

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