In 1903, a year before Gustav Klimt painted Water Serpents I, the artist was visiting Italy and was awed by the early Christian mosaics that incorporated an amalgamation of symbols, patterns, gold leaf filigree, and stark, sharp brushstrokes. The style was to influence him for the rest of his life and, along with his fascination with Byzantine devotional icons, would inform the genesis of his Gold period, of which Water Serpents I was an early hint. Like Klimt’s Mother and Child and Goldfish, Water Serpents I features angular, distorted gestural movements, with aquatic female forms jostling for position amid the ornamental reeds and riverbed, craning their bodies into an embrace. A playful game of tactility and depth, Klimt’s painting is no reproduction of a mythical dream, but a journey across - and between - surfaces.
Part of Klimt’s modernizing vision and the mission of his artistic group the Vienna Secession, was often carried forward in the form of the nude or sexualized female figure. The bodies of his female subjects were more important to the artist than a mere vehicle of bodily reproduction but rather a vessel for the themes of renewal, rebellion, and the exotic in the face of conservative politics. The embrace of the two women in Water Serpents I would have surely offended, enraged, and confused contemporary audiences, yet the whale-like head would have given clues to the work’s allegorical pretensions. The addition of gold leaf and highly ornamental patterns certainly defused the public reaction to many of Klimt’s works, imbuing them with qualities comparable to that of architecture, furniture design, and interior decoration. Disguising frank and honest subject matters beneath the veil of myth or fairy tale allowed the artist to use nineteenth century modes of representation to articulate truly Modern themes.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of Water Serpents I, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of Water Serpents I that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.