The Hostile Powers
Gustav Klimt is well known within his contemporary as his elaborate art works gain his the title of a revolutionary with the Secession movement of Vienna upon entering the 20th century.
The Hostile Power's belonged to an array of artwork for The Beethoven Frieze, which was an art compilation from an array of artists in honour of Beethoven's work. The arts were given the task to feel the emotion and story portrayed through Beethoven's music, and produce an array of murals to showcase his work. The painting was to be placed in the Vienna Secession exhibition of 1914 to celebrate the great composer.
The allegorical painting showcased the different elements of mythology and symbolism. Gustav Klimt had painted directly on the mural lightly, where it was then taken down and preserved for decades. The artwork was later on displayed in 1986 where it is still on display today. The painting is most prominently known today for being including on the Austrian euro coin in 2004. The coin includes a knight symbolizing strength, a woman carrying a wreath of victory showcasing ambition, and a woman with her head held down to illustrate sympathy.
The Hostile Powers is a portion of the grand mural, yet depicts a great deal of images. To the left of the piece, the viewer is able to witness a set of female triplets all in different forms. These three women are depicted nude as their pale bodies are illuminated throughout the artwork. The first woman on the left seems to be seized in an array of fear. She arches her body away in fear as she holds her hair against her face. The artist showcases every cavern and stroke on the woman's body as he depicts her curves in a smooth form. The woman's right leg is tied in a green rope that is anchored to a large rock. The artist displayed a small face on the rock that is in as much fear as the woman.
The woman on the left stands in an upright position illustrating her body as she holds her hands to her face. The woman's left breast is illustrated, alongside the muse's soft curves that sway against her body. The artist gently shows an indent on the woman's hips, showcasing Klimt's immense attention to detail. While the woman is still consumed in fear, her body language seems less scared than the woman on her right. The woman of the left is not frightened as she curves her body away from her other two sisters in deceptive tone. Her evil nature is showcased on her face, as her eyes take a different blue tone and are possessed compared to the other woman.
The viewer is able to witness a transition between these three woman, as the one on the right is horrified that something is occurring, compared to the one in the middle who is less worried, transitioning all the way the woman on the left who is possessed. The story behind the work is able to easily flow through these three women. Their body is covered in gold swirls, a classic trademark Klimt used in all of his Gold Phase paintings.
On top of the woman, horrific transformed people and creatures stand overlooking the three girls. These faces peer into them, adding a context perhaps behind why the girls are frightened. These terrifying figures are meant to symbolize different philosophies Klimt carried for life. Including ideas such as death, sickness, madness, and an end to time. The viewer is able to seize an array of different elements and ideas through these figures as they stare at the girls.
Behind the girls and woman is a background of Klimt's classic mosaic patchwork, colours and patterns. Shades of gold, silver, copper, and bronze fill the screen in different techniques and styles. These colours are swirled, chequered, in arrays of triangles and pops of colour, adding to the overall colour scheme of the painting.
To the left of these women, a large brown beast fills the scene in a surprised face. The beast takes a large section of the painting with no exact symbolism behind him. The artist illustrates the texture of the creatures fur through linear brush strokes that cover his body, and dark shades of brown. Accompanying the creature to the right, a woman with long rich red hair seduces a chubby emperor as he glares into her eyes in lust. Klimt had illustrated the emperor to have large round breasts, and a rich blue coloured skirt with gold details. The ruler looks towards the woman with long red hair, who is right next to another innocent gold toned woman.
The faces, forms, creatures, rules, and colours showcased through Gustav Klimt's mural, The Hostile Powers, illustrates the artist's masterful attention to detail that seizes viewers through decades.