Gustav Klimt - The kiss


Klimt - the Kiss - the Lovers

 Gustav Klimt

 The Kiss - the Lovers (1908/09)


Two lovers merged together in a kiss and enraptured in a golden aura, united with and isolated from their surroundings at the same time: this is how we see the large painting by Gustav Klimt (180 x 180 cm). This is the golden age of Vienna, radiant with European charisma. "The Kiss" is also the high point of the well-known painter's "Golden Phase" of refined portraits of women and fascinating Austrian landscapes.

Golden colours, flat, ornamental, sensual; these are the attributes we associate with this painting. However, the intimate, almost "eternal" unity of the lovers does not hide the kneeling submissiveness of the woman and the love experience that is literally on the brink of an abyss. How long will the jewels remain before they decay as meer trinkets?


Betrayed in the death - The kiss of Judas

The kiss of Judas

St. Gilles (Provence) - about 1150


"Then, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, 'The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.' He came and immediately went over to him and said, Rabbi. And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him."  Marcus 14,43-46

The Benedictine abbey of Saint-Gilles  was founded during the seventh century traditionally by the hermit Saint Gilles. The abbey church's west portal is among the most beautiful of the great Romanesque portals and a definitive example of the Provence Romanesque.

The sculptor of the Betrayal demonstrates particular skill in the central grouping of Christ and Judas, the latter clasping the shoulder of his Master to pull him closer into an embrace, while the taller Jesus inclines his head to submit to the traitor's kiss. Christ's head, skillfully worked in three-quarter profile, displays an expression of prescient understanding.

The deeply carved drapery of these two pivotal figures accentuates their body lines. As is traditional for the iconography of this incident, Judas is oriented in a sinister (left-facing) direction; the tight curls of his hair are perhaps intended to emphasize his Jewish ethnicity.

Balancing Judas on the left, an arresting officer, his body lines echoing those of Jesus, lays a hand on his victim's shoulder. To the right of the scene, at the corner of this angle block, another guard prepares to draw his sword; the Phrygian-style forward-peaked helmet he wears underscores his Eastern, pagan, identity.