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Dancer in a Flamenco Costume, lower left: repetition of the motif. Study for »Judith II (Salome)«

Gustav Klimt1908

Leopold Museum

Leopold Museum
Vienna, Austria

This folio is one of the few drawings that Klimt executed in color. In doing so, the artist pointedly emphasized the contrast between the dancer’s white, bare shoulders and her black dress decorated with red ruffles. The motif of a flamenco dancer, turning her body to the left, seemingly in mid-stride toward the viewer, was repeated on the same page in a smaller version and in pencil. A year later this study found ist way into the painting entitled Judith II (Salome), in which the iconographic key motif of the dance, performed by Salome for King Herod in demand for the return of John the Baptist’s head, had lost all relevance. Consequently, when the painting was first presented at the International Art Exhibition in Vienna in 1909, the audience only identified her as Judith, the figure from the Old Testament, instead of the dancer Salome.

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