The painting dates from 1907/08 at the height of Klimt’s “Golden Period”. The Kiss is an oil-on-canvas painting with added gold leaf, silver and platinum. The painting depicts a couple embracing each other, their bodies entwined in elaborate beautiful robes decorated in a style influenced by the contemporary Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement.
In this early-twentieth-work Klimt was making a general allegorical statement about love being at the heart of human existence. The fact that the painting still retains its immediacy and emotional impact is a testimony to the artist’s extraordinary achievement.
The lovers’ garments are adorned with gold leaf and the background, too, is suffused with delicate gold, silver, and even platinum flakes. The Austrian state purchased the Kiss for the recently founded Moderne Galerie, which was housed at the Lower Belvedere, from its first exhibition in 1908. The painting has been in the Belvedere’s collections ever since.