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Gustav KlimtStudy for "Sacred and Profane Music" - Drawing of a Female Figure in a Long Gown
As Alice Strobl discovered, this delicate study of a woman in classical dress and playing music was a preparatory work for an 1896 allegory of secular and sacred music. This watercolour was originally in the Albertina but was lost after 1920 together with two relevant sketches and there are no known illustrations of these works.1 However, a series of small sketches on the verso of several figure studies demonstrates Klimt’s thoughts about these two personifications.2 Secular music appears as a classical, robed figure playing a cithara, while a frontal figure crowned by a halo embodies sacred music. In this study, Klimt is concentrating on the hands playing music and the introverted sidelong gaze; only the outlines of the instrument are indicated. One of the characteristics of this Symbolist phase in his work is the magical way in which the figure shines out against the dark hatched background. In contrast to his innovative allegories Junius and Skulptur, both also drawn for the series Allegorien, Neue Folge in 1896, the missing work Secular and Sacred Music was never published. Klimt explored the subject of a figure playing the cithara on a number of occasions, leading up to ‘Poetry’ in the Beethoven Frieze (1901–02). Marian Bisanz Prakken (translated by Rebecca Law) This work is listed in the catalogue raisonné by Alice Strobl with no. 285 It is in excellent condition.
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