The Virgin

A magnificent piece by Gustav Klimt

The Virgin (1913/1913) by Gustav KlimtNational Gallery Prague

The Virgin occupies a special place in Klimt’s oeuvre. It has a key Secession theme as its motif – the relationship between beauty and ephemerality, youth and mortality, the celebration of young life and the phenomenon of a woman’s existence.

Klimt painted it in his later creative period, when the theme of the “femme fatale” gave way to the dream-like sensuality of a young girl. His virtuoso drawing was combined with stylized planary abbreviation and rapidly applied intense colours.

The Virgin is imbued with one of the finest expressions of Klimt’s eroticism. The girl sleeps peacefully under a blanket ornamented with flowers and spirals.

To Klimt, someone asleep is not responsible for their desires. He therefore depicted an innocent virgin held captive by her sweet and luscious dreams.

The 1913 painting Virgin was a special acquisition from the exhibition organized by the Deutschböhmischer Künstlerbund at the Rudolfinum Gallery in Prague in January and February 1914, where eleven paintings and a set of drawings by Klimt were displayed. As its price was high – 26,000 crowns – Baron F. Wiesner, the Modern Gallery’s representative, negotiated with Klimt. In the end, the Gallery purchased the picture for 20,000 crowns in 1914, a year after it was painted.

Credits: Story

Olga Kotková
Curator of the Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art
National Gallery Prague

Credits: All media
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