1848 – 1907
Industrial Revolution II

Gustav Klimt's Beethoven Frieze

Gustav Klimt, Beethoven Frieze, 1902, casein paint, gold paint, black and color chalk, graphite on plaster with various appliqué materials including mirror, mother-of-pearl and curtain rings, height 2.1 - 2 meters, overall length 34.1 meters (long walls 13.9 meters, front wall 6.3 meters), Vienna Secession building (on loan from the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere)

Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker

Your Comments (3)

Previous Comments

Marianne B. Woods wrote on Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This work is one of the world's masterpieces; thank you for bringing it to my classroom.

Nicole Davenport wrote on Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ohhhh Gustav Klimt, how I love you! Kudos to the presenters for executing the overall concept of this but in a

Alix wrote on Tuesday, March 05, 2013

It is only appropriate to make a film based on a work of art that is supposed to be experience as part of an overall “complete” work of art. The music included was intriguing as it brought to life the work; the curved lines and floating figures seemed to be dancing and singing along with the nuances of the music. Personally, Klimt has always been an artist of interest due to his use of his design based imagery and rich colours, this work is no different. His works always create complex narratives that are to be deciphered with the reading of his icons and symbols. The commentators analyse the work thanks to semiotics and iconography. This allows for the story of the Knight to be told, this story is one that can be analysed using a Marxist theory. The Knight represents a heroic mythic figure, one who Austria and Germany search for in their longing for saving. The overall painting represent the need for vanquishing and resistance the temptations of evil. This evil and need for a hero is a commentary on the state of the country at the period. The complex depth of the meaning of the painting is not overwhelmed by the beauty of the lines and simplified figures. The detail and use of gold is astonishing.

Add Comments

We think Smarthistory works best when it prompts discussion. Please post (on-topic) comments.*

*All comments are moderated

To post a comment, you need the Adobe Flash Plugin. Download it from here.
This work is an open educational resource and This work is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.