Danae (1907-08) by Gustav Klimt

Danae - Klimt, Gustav - 1907-08 - 3

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Artwork Information

ArtistGustav Klimt
Date1907 - 1908
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions77 x 83 cm
Art MovementArt Nouveau
Current LocationWurthle Gallery, Vienna, Austria
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About Danae

Danaë is one of Gustav Klimt’s most famous and controversial oil paintings created during his “golden period” in 1907-08. Measuring 77 x 83 cm, this painting depicts a sleeping Danaë, the symbol of transcendence and divine love, with golden rain representing Jupiter falling on her. The piece is currently displayed in the Galerie Würthle in Vienna.

Klimt’s Danaë belongs to the Symbolism movement that began in Europe around this time. The artist had an obsession with female nudity and sex; hence it is no surprise that he chose a seductive subject like Danaë as his muse. The golden rain seems to be telling a story of transformation, as ordinary women become idealized into something more significant than themselves through erotic content.

The painting has been criticized for being too erotic because of its portrayal of gaping genitals glimpsed between Danae’s parted legs. All these elements combine to make Klimt’s masterpiece an enigmatic artwork interpreted differently by many over time. His interest in decorative art style was also prominent at the time which heavily influenced his work.

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