Known as an outstanding figure in the Vienna Secession Movement, the painter's work seizes the attention of revolutionaries through centuries.
Klimt's pencil on paper sketch, Reclining Female Nude, showcases an erotic spin on the artist's classic drawing that manifest the female body. The artist is notorious for his female-based work, depicting their essence and characteristics in an array of oil on canvas paintings and quick sketches.
The artist held an immense fascination for the female body as the curves and textures seized his artistic appeal. Klimt focused his work on depicting the natural flow of a woman's body; showcasing their pure and graceful form. Their soft characteristics and smooth shapes illustrated a warm passion within Klimt's work. The artist focused on painting men only in complex pieces to add depth to the piece; popularly focusing on their muscular back with sharp edges.
The sketch, Reclining Female Nude, illustrates a woman lying on her back with one leg placed on the other as she holds her hands in between her thighs touching herself. The woman seems to be placed on a large object that curves inwards. She is clothed in a pok-a-dot dress, pulled upwards to show the viewers what is occurring. Her other hand is placed on her knee as she reclines her body backwards and enjoys with her eyes closed, enjoying herself.
The sketch is an erotic piece that differs from Gustav Klimt's usual work. While the artist is known for his portrayal of the female body in its natural nude form, his work does not illustrate a sexual undertone as this piece does.
The sketch is similar to another one of Klimt's work from 1916, Mulher Sendtada, where the artist illustrates a woman on her back with her hands between her legs, similarly to Reclining Female Nude.
Gustav Klimt had focused both pieces on showcasing the women's vagina as the primary focal point in the sketch, drawing the viewer's attention. While the date of Reclining Female Nude remains unknown as it belongs to a compilation of the artist's sketches, both women's curly hair predict that perhaps they are the same muse.
Gustav Klimt had received an array of criticism for some of his most popular work today, including his ceiling painting for the University of Vienna, titled Medicine (1900-1907). This artwork showcases naked men and woman intertwined within one another as they are illustrated along supernatural forms. His work was seen as pornographic and inappropriate at the time. Based on the array of criticism Klimt received on his work, his erotic sketches remained tucked away from viewers.
The artwork arises an immense multitude of questions as the viewer wonders the story behind the piece. A significant one includes: who is the woman? Is she one of Klimt's common models that he used throughout his sketches or paintings, or is she a muse based off of Klimt's imagination and desires.
It is significant to note that while Klimt painted an immense number of nude paintings, none of his work carries a sexual amorous feel. Manifesting that the artist never received the chance to illustrate the female body in a truly provocative form.