I discovered Gustav Klimt when I was around 11-12 in my brothers’ art history books. It was love at first sight! His fantastic ornaments and wild imagination always stayed in my memory as an eternal question: “Where did his inspiration come from?”
Of course I have read that he was very much inspired by Italian cities of Venice and Ravenna, but what does that actually mean?
I did not figure out the true meaning behind the inspiration until I experienced Venice.
And I do want to emphasize the “experience” part, because regardless of the amount of pictures, artwork and movies you see, experiencing Venice is a must! It divides your life into before you went to Venice and after.
But back to the Gustav Klimt. His secrets started being revealed in San Mark’s Basilica, which was fully decorated with golden leaf mosaics called Gold Leaf Tesserae a technique which sandwiches a golden leaf between 2 pieces of glass, thus achieving absolute luminosity for the gold, which nothing can compare.
Seeing all that gold solved the mystery behind Klimpt’s golden leaf elaborate backgrounds. I don’t think any artist who witnesses all that artistic glory can stay indifferent and not be moved by it.
Even the recent collection of Dolce and Gabbana is heavily inspired by the golden mosaics at San Mark’s basilica. (Another proof that Venice is experiencing a serious cultural comeback).
Another unique inspiration of Gustav Klimt came from Murano Glass.
He probably saw the ““millefiori” is a style of Murano Glass that is defined by each layer of molten color being molded into a star, then cooled and layered again. When sliced crosswise, it has the appearance of many flowers, thus mille- (thousand) fiori (flowers).
Now all of a sudden his unusual ornaments fully made sense! It is a Millefiori!
The most exciting part was that last year the city of Venice honored the master and everywhere in Venice were exhibitions dedicated to Klimt. And as we all know: “what goes around comes around” and Murano Glassmaking masters created a whole new series inspired by Gustav Klimt’s work which marked a true comeback!