Art, Freedom, and The Kiss–A Tribute in Syria

“If you can not please everyone with your deeds and your art, please a few”

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) is an Austrian painter and first president of the Vienna Secession ( an artists’ union), whose goal was to rid itself of classical oppression and motto was “To every age its art. To art its freedom”. The majority of his subjects are women, and most of his paintings were considered pornographic in the late 1800’s. He specialized in theater decoration in his early years and his love of costume is clear in his paintings of socialites.

His paintings remind me of the artwork and stained glass windows I have seen in sanctuaries across the nation–bright colors, lots of gold, mosaics, and heavy symbolism–snakes, flowers, sword, halos–but more human.

A few days ago I saw that a young man, Tammam Azzam, painted The Kiss (1908) on a bombed-out building in Syria, only a few days after the UN placed the death toll at 70,000 (homage at bottom). I am glad this image bounced back to us from space, somehow sent from a country where the government has disabled cell phones, landlines, and electricity. This image conveys hope and compassion to a land in dire need of help.  Gustav would approve.

gustav-klimt.jpg!Portrait hygeia-detail-of-medicine-1907Medicine, 1907, University of Vienna Ceiling Paintings, destroyed by the Nazi SS in 1945

Hope2-Klimt Hope II, 1907-1908

klimt.adele-bloch-bauer Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907

Gustav_Klimt_049 Portrait of Emilie Louise Flöge, 1902

the-kiss-1908(1)The Kiss, 1908

tammam-azzam-freedom-graffiti-150x150cm-archival-print-2012-edition-of-5-courtesy-of-the-artist-and-ayyam-galleryTammam Azzam‘s homage to The Kiss
Note: the majority of the images were taken from wikipaintings.org

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