Male Nude (1883) by Gustav KlimtBelvedere
This male nude study is one of the earliest known paintings by Gustav Klimt. It is a typical example of academic teaching.
After completing his training as a drawing teacher at the Imperial Royal Arts and Crafts School in Vienna between 1876 and 1879, he was accepted into Ferdinand Laufberger's decorative painting class. This was on the recommendation of the director of the Arts and Crafts School, Rudolf Eitelberger von Edelberg.
Being accepted into this decorative painting class granted Klimt access to academic training to become a historical painter, who could fully compete with the historical painters at the renowned Academy of Fine Arts.
The nude study should be seen in the context of his education at the Arts and Crafts School. The task for the students was to faithfully portray the naked human figure. In particular, the anatomy and certain poses of the models were to be studied in detail.
These model studies were not intended to be sold on the art market. They typically remained in the artist's possession unless they were destroyed, and often only reached the public through the artist's estate.
Text: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere / Franz Smola
© Österreichische Galerie Belvedere