10 Artworks By Klimt You Should Know

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907
Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907 | © Neue Galerie/WikiCommons
Marcelina Morfin

Born in 1862, Gustav Klimt was an Austrian painter known for his beautiful, highly decorative works, often exuding an erotic theme. During his time, Klimt was seen as rebellious, since he created paintings that were not in line with academic art – indeed, he created art and lived life on his own terms. Nevertheless, his paintings are true masterpieces, especially those which showcase his use of gold leaf, adding a gorgeous new element. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite paintings by Klimt below.

Judith and the Head of Holofernes (1901)

Depicting the biblical character Judith, this painting, which is a heavily gilded piece, focuses on the title character. As the title suggests, Judith is, indeed, holding the head the Holofernes; however, in order to not take any attention away from her, Klimt has only painted part of Holofernes’ head. And as with Klimt’s female figures, this one exudes eroticism — the sensual, femme fatale Judith has a pleased look on her face while staring down at the viewer, and she is, like so many of Klimt’s women, nude. This work can be found at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna.

Gustav Klimt, Judith and the Head of Holofernes, 1901

Beethoven Frieze (1901-02)

Gustav Klimt, Detail from the Beethoven Frieze, 1902

Emilie Flöge (1902)

Emilie Flöge was a couturière who also happened to be Klimt’s life partner. While Klimt was known for his womanizing ways, Emilie was the one woman who was always by his side when it come to companionship and design – she even designed gowns depicted in his paintings. In 1902, Klimt painted a standing portrait of Emilie, who is wearing a beautiful, long and embellished gown in colors of blues, purples, black and gold, which, like many of his works, were radical for the time. For the most part, the background is neutral, allowing Emilie, who looks right at the spectator, to be the main focal point.

Gustav Klimt, Emilie Flöge, 1902

The Three Ages of Woman (1905)

The Three Ages of Woman (1905) is an allegorical painting depicting three women in varying stages of life, from a baby to an old woman – in other words, it represents the circle of life. A mother tenderly embraces her daughter while an elderly woman stands nearby, head looking downward with her hand covering her face. All three figures are nude; however, the young mother’s hair is adorned with flowers while a sheer, colorful cloth wraps around the lower portion of her and her baby’s body. The somber figure of the elderly woman, which may have been inspired by Rodin’s The Old Courtesan, is completely exposed with her saggy, wrinkling skin, signifying that the end is near. This particular work can be found in Rome at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna.

Gustav Klimt, The Three Ages of Woman, 1905

Danäe (1907)

Many of Klimt’s paintings are very erotic; however, with Danäe, he manages to take it to a whole other level. Completed in 1907, the painting depicts Danäe from Greek mythology, who was locked in a bronze tower by her father in order to protect her from men, as he believed she would go on to have son who would end up killing him. Viewers see a nude Danäe sound asleep, and in this particular scene, she is being visited by Zeus ,who is impregnating her with golden coins that are sliding down between her legs while she has a look of contentment on her face. You can find this work in Vienna at the Galerie Würthle.

Gustav Klimt, Danäe, 1907

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907)

One of the most expensive artworks ever sold, the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I is located at the Neue Galerie in New York City. Painted in 1907, this heavily gilded painting depicts the Viennese socialite Adele Bloch-Bauer who sat twice for Klimt, being the only person to ever do so, and has a fascinating history. The work was seized by the Nazi government and eventually ended up in an Austrian museum when the rightful heir, Maria Altmann, sued the Austrian government in the mid-2000s and won. A stunning masterpiece, the work is sure to take any spectator’s breath away when viewed in person.

Hope, II (1907-08)

Showing pregnancy in works of art is not a common sight, especially in the past; however, Klimt’s Hope, IIdepicts just that. Painted from 1907-1908, this work features a woman cloaked in a colorful garment with her breasts exposed, looking down with her eyes closed. A skull is peeking out from her robe while three women — who almost seem to get swallowed up by the woman’s garment — at the bottom of the painting are also looking down. The background is neutral, drawing the viewer’s eyes to the center of the painting. While the title bears the word ‘hope,’ everything in the painting leads the spectator to believe that it’s not going to be okay. Find this one at MoMA in New York City.

Gustav Klimt, Hope, II, 1907-1908

Kiss (Lovers) (1907-08)

Started in 1907, Kiss (Lovers)is undeniably Klimt’s most famous work and is part of his ‘Golden Phase,’ in which he used gold leaf to add a luxurious aspect to his works. Depicting a couple in love who are amidst a field of flowers, the beautiful painting shows a woman with her head tilted while a man, whose face can’t be seen for the most part, kisses her on the cheek. Embracing each other tightly, the man’s garb is adorned with geometric shapes (rectangles of black, white, grey and gold) and the woman’s with colorful flowers, representing femininity. Today, this incredible, symbolic work can be found at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna.

Gustav Klimt, Kiss (Lovers), 1907-1908

Avenue in the Park of Schloss Kammer (1912)

Besides his figure paintings, Gustav Klimt was also inspired by the beautiful outdoors. Throughout the years, the artist was known to spend time in Attersee, a beautiful lake and resort located in northern Austria, during the summers. He found much inspiration there and painted various landscapes over the years, whether they were depictions of the water, the fields of flower, or even an avenue in the a park like Avenue in the Park of Schloss Kammer. It’s a painting that feels as though you could step right inside and take a stroll along the avenue, with grand trees on each side forming a canopy.

Gustav Klimt, Avenue in the Park of Schloss Kammer, 1912

The Virgin (1913)

Located at the National Gallery in Prague, The Virgin is a colorful display of brilliance by Klimt, and as with most of his works, this one is also brimming with symbolism. On the surface, it is a beautiful work featuring a central sleeping figure with six others surrounding her, adorned with bold blues, reds, greens, yellows and more, but when you look deeper, you will find various symbols alluding to the virgin becoming a woman ,such as the spirals on the dress (which represent fertility) and the slight parting of her legs. Wanting to capture a mood — or emotional feeling — as all Symbolists wanted at the time, Klimt succeeded with The Virgin, as the viewer is drawn into the painting, wondering what the the virgin is dreaming about.

Gustav Klimt, The Virgin, 1913
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article