In 1894, the famous Austrian symbolist artist Gustav Klimt was commissioned to create three paintings to decorate the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna. The artist showed traditional allegorical images of symbolism in a new style, which was much more frank and sexy, which caused a lot of conflicting reviews.
The public outcry came from all sides - political, aesthetic and religious. As a result, the composition was never shown on the ceiling of the Great Hall. In continuation of the triple paintings, Gustav Klimt creates the so-called Beethoven frieze, which was presented at the fourteenth exhibition in Venice, dedicated to the celebration of the birthday of the great composer. The artist assumed the frieze exclusively for the exhibition, and therefore it was painted directly on the walls.
Embrace is a theme from the last part of the Beethoven Frieze, Paradise Angels Choir, and precedes the famous Kiss. The three pairs are very similar, and the man’s back is facing the viewer, protecting the body of his mistress, showing us her enthusiastic face. In all three cases, the man is inclined to have his head on the same level as the female.
In “Kiss”, the artist achieves this by bringing the woman to her knees, while in other paintings Klimt simply makes the male figure taller. All three works are characterized by a contrasting image of a pair with respect to a golden background, shown patterned or mottled, which indicates to us ordinary, earthly love.
Klimt contrasted a square or rectangular figure with circles and spirals, which undoubtedly should illustrate the difference between masculinity and femininity.
Peter Brueghel Icarus Fall