Beethoven Frieze | Gustav Klimt | 1902
One of my all time favourite paintings. I’ve literally never seen anything so gorgeous than this frieze, which is displayed in the Secession building in Vienna. You must visit!
“The frieze illustrates human desire for happiness in a suffering and tempestuous world in which she has to contend not only with external evil forces but also her own internal weaknesses. The viewer is encouraged to follow this journey of discovery in a stunning visual and linear fashion. It begins gently with the floating female Genii searching the Earth but soon we encounter the dark, sinister-looking storm-wind giant, Typhoeus, his three Gorgon daughters and images representing sickness, madness, death, lust and wantonness above and to the right. From here we stand before the knight in shining armour who offers hope due to his own ambition and sympathy for the pleading, suffering humans. The journey ends in the discovery of joy by means of the arts and contentment is represented in the close embrace of a kiss. Thus, the frieze reveals psychological human yearning which is ultimately satisfied, not by religion or wise counsel, but through the medium of individual/communal searching and the beauty of the arts coupled with love and companionship.”