Friday, July 17, 2009

Klimt's portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer

Klimt seems to be quite innocently eulogising bourgeois princess Adele Bloch-Bauer. Klimt was just as innocently enthused by the possibilities of factory production, so it couldn't be said that for Klimt, polite society and the factory floor represented the contrasting faces of the bourgeoisie. And in 1907 the Austrian bourgeoisie could still be considered a progressive force.

(Does this seem right? To try to be more accurate, I feel like this picture praises unambiguously but messes with the oppositional pairs bourgeois-aristocratic and natural-artificial, if that makes sense.)

I don't think you would do something like this now because you would be tempted to cut the goldleaf out from B&H cartons. Or perhaps tastes have changed as much as technology. A contempory picture showing, say, Tony and Cherie Blair embracing on a haptic field of depleted uranium, might neither praise nor naturalise.

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