Klimt's Studies for the Painting "Judith II (Salome)"

In the 1909 painting "Judith II (Salome)", the Golden Style's decorative idiom of forms and lines still dominates here, though the artist would soon distance himself from it

Albertina Museum

Standing Woman with Left Leg Raised; Figure Repeated (Study for "Judith II" ["Salome"]) (c.1908) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

Klimt's exploration of the biblical femme fatale in drawing was far from the extreme representation of madness and shrill eroticism of this painting. The study of a slim model depicted frontally with her leg raised is linked to both the theme of dance of Salome and the drawings of dancers created in 1907/1908 as part of the preparations for the Stoclet Frieze.

Female Dancer with Bent Arm (Study for "Expectation" of the "Stoclet Frieze") (1907-1908) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

Standing Woman with Left Leg Raised; Figure Repeated (Study for "Judith II" ["Salome"]) (c.1908) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

There is a peculiar discord between the linearly elated skirt and leg section and the solemn, frozen-looking gesture of the upper body.

The figure is repeated in the background.

Through the concentration of strong strokes, Klimt sets the broad hairstyle off against the empty space like a relief. This emphasizes all the more the serious, meditative expression of the stooped face, supported by her narrow, vertically stretched hand.

The rhythm of the angled limbs is reminiscent of the right Gorgon in the Beethoven Frieze, who breaks the horizontal and vertical canon with the zig-zag movement of her arms and legs.

Standing Female Nude with Raised Right Leg (Study for "The Three Gorgons" of the "Beethoven Frieze") (1901) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

Narrow Wall Beethoven Frieze: "The Hostile Forces" (1901/02) by Gustav Klimt (1902) by Moriz NährAustrian National Library

Seated Seminude (Study for "Judith II") (c.1908) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

This perfect balance between a strict commitment to the plane and an unforced, sensitive use of lines is also shown by the drawing of a seated model, whose clothing is lowered to the waist. The study was Klimt's guide for the painting, particularly in relation to the slightly bent pose of her naked, gaunt upper body and the diagonally running shoulder contour. The veils in the painting refer to the flowing lines of the patterned undergarments in this study.

The self composed figure who looks firmly at the viewer is far removed from the image of the femme fatale.

Klimt effectively plays the distinctive contours of the upper body and the agitated lines of the clothing, in the middle of which the angular knees emerge like islands, against one another.

The subtle blue and red accents and the decoratively integrated signature contribute to the impression of a finished, autonomous work.

Credits: Story

Albertina Vienna

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Klimt vs. Klimt
From penniless unknown to the famous creator of The Kiss, get to know the contradictory life of Gustav Klimt
View theme
Google apps