Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Kiss

Let's talk about art. Now trust me, I'm no art buff, not at all, but I think I have pretty good taste and I know what I like. So I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite (if not the favorite) paintings.
The Kiss
Gustav Klimt

I will never forget the first time I saw this painting. While I was studying abroad, my friends and I spent a few days in Paris over fall break. We stayed with an old family acquaintance of my friend Claire's who was a little...neurotic, to say the least. She was absolutely convinced that we were going to miss our bus to the airport in the morning, so
she made us hop on the Metro at 11 pm (talk about an odyssey...she got us lost, 3 times) and pawned us off on her friend. (side note -- who drops 4 American girls who don't speak a word of French off a friend's that they don't know and just leaves? we were very lucky that this woman and her husband ended up being SO wonderful and kind) I should mention that Claire had gotten some kind of 24-hr stomach bug that she was just getting over, meanwhile I was just getting the same bug. By the time we got to The Friend's apartment around midnight, I was running a fever, my body ached and I was sweating through my shirt, I was exhausted and beyond irritated. We walked into her apartment, I let my bags drop off my arms, let out a big sigh, turned to my left and there it was. The most beautiful painting I'd ever seen.

I literally stood there in a daze, staring at it and not even realizing I was doing so, until The Friend put her arm around me and said, "It's beautiful. Kind of breaks your heart, doesn't it?" She said she'd stumbled across the Klimt Museum when she was in Vienna and had fallen deeply, deeply in love. She brought me over to her bookcase and pulled a book about the Austrian painter, featuring all of his work, off her shelf and handed it to me to look at while I fell asleep. The man is a GENIUS. All of his paintings are stunning, but this one is definitely my favorite.

The colors are so vibrant, but even more than the stunning hues I love the feeling of intimacy the painting invokes. Look at the way he's holding her, like she is the most precious thing on the face of the earth. He's so much bigger than she is and yet you can feel the tenderness in him. The way her hands are curled around him you can tell there's no where else in the world she'd rather be. I love the the strength of the two of them together, united as a team, and the fact that you can tell they would do anything for each other. He is hers and she is his. And her face. That absolute serenity and happiness. Lovely. Lovely. Lovely.

As I mentioned, The Friend had a gorgeous canvas replica of the painting hanging in her living room. She said her husband bought it for her for their anniversary one year. I would absolutely LOVE to have one just like that. Someday. For now I'll settle for a small image of the painting I bought when I was in Barcelona. It's actually an oversized postcard, but hey! It works. I have it hanging in my room near my bed. I see that picture about a hundred times every day and I still find myself being mesmerized by it. I guess that's the power of beautiful artwork.

Who is your favorite painter? And what's your favorite painting?

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