Vienna is celebrating the 150th birthday of one of its most iconic artists, Gustav Klimt. They’ve built him a bridge! Actually the bridge is a temporary scaffolding in the main staircase of the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum. It’s been a huge success, so its time was extended through January 6, 2013. I can hardly wait! Instead of craning our necks to see the dimly lit images twelve meters up in the air, we will be up close and personal with them.
Klimt and other artists were commissioned to do a series of paintings representing various periods of art history. Thirteen of the paintings are the work of Mr. Klimt, painted in his studio and later glued to the wall just under the grand ceiling. Each historic period is represented by a person, either male or female. Klimt was only 28 at the time, so these paintings represent some of his early work. At the time, historical subjects were all the rage. No doubt Mr. Klimt put his own special spin on art history, always pushing the limits of what polite society was willing to accept. Possibly the museum authorities in 1891 were happy to have these paintings out of easy reach. “All art is erotic,” the artist famously said. Happy birthday, Gustav Klimt!