In 1876 Gustav Klimt(1862-1918) joined the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts. He trained as a painter and was so talented he was selling his work at that young age. The Viennese Art Society at the time were enjoying historically themed work and Klimt was happy to work in that style mixing it with the mythology that he enjoyed. As his style developed he was criticized for being far too explicit for the taste of the Art Society. In 1897 with ten other artists, he formed The Vienna Secession. The group promoted and exhibited the work of other up and coming artists of the time. This caused disputes with the Art Society as they up until then had had a monopoly on all exhibitions.
Klimt’s work reveals his highly erotic nature, he loved to paint the female form and would have usually be on an intimate level with his models.
His inspiration for some of his work may have come from his many trips to Venice and Ravenna and the influence of the mosaic work there. He also studied the gold technique of Byzantine images as seen reflected in his work by the major use of gold leaf. His work Death and Light received first prize in 1911 in Rome, the highlight of his life. In 2006 Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, his mistress, was purchased by the Neue Gallery ,for 135 million dollars .