Klimt's Studies for the Allegory "Love"

The painting "Love" was created in 1895 for the series "Allegories, New Series"—the modern continuation of the historicist "Allegories and Emblems" (1882–84)

Albertina Museum

Love (1895) by Gustav KlimtWien Museum

The careful studies of a dreamy-looking child and a cross-eyed old man are linked to the mysteriously illuminated heads symbolizing the stages of life at the top of the picture.

Head- and-Shoulders Portrait of a Child (Study for "Love") (1895) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

In the study for the child's face, Klimt's main concern was dreamy seriousness. He employed the pencil in a variety of ways.

The sharp countour lines of her cheeks cause the girl's round, gently modeled face to shine out.

Klimt effectively contrasted the broad chaplet of the child's delicately braided hair with the dark background constructed of vertical parallel hatching. At the same time, he used the vertical structure as a new means to fix the strictly frontal portrait within the plane.

The white accents in the face and quickly sketched clothing add to the visionary effect of this study, which, beyond the limits of its purpose, has the character of a self-contained, autonomous work of art.

Love (1895) by Gustav KlimtWien Museum

Head-and-Shoulders Portrait of a Bald Old Man (Study for "Love") (1895) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

The study of the bald, cross-eyed old man was also used for the upper area of the picture containing the stages of life. Here, the carefully studied facial features are even more repulsive. As in the study of the child, Klimt was concerned with a specific human type in this drawing.

The name and address of the model, as in several other cases, were noted directly on the sheet.

Again, he took the visionary lighting of the painting into account through the subtle use of white highlights.

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