Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)

Gustav Klimt’s contribution to the masterpiece of the festschrift on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Imperial Royal Austrian Museum of Art and Industry (today MAK) is Allegory of Sculpture. This watercolor painting represents the symbolism of his early work: In the center, the naked personification of the sculpture, adorned with hair ornaments that appear Hellenistic, a snake bracelet, earrings, and a golden, delicate necklace. In her left hand she holds a Victoria with a laurel wreath who is balancing on the globe. The background of the picture features common sculptural motives from antiquity such as the Boy with Thorn, Athena Parthenos, as well as Juno Ludovisi—enthroned above all. In 1897, Martin Gerlach’s Allegorien. Neue Folge [Allegories. New series] was published in which Klimt again refers to the theme of allegorical depiction of sculpture but strongly breaks up the antique-like depiction.