The idea of synthesizing music, painting and literature permeates all the creative practices of symbolism, which many artists of the era of the turn of the century have addressed. This fate did not pass the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, in whose paintings (1895 Music, the Beethoven Frieze cycle), interest in art is clearly traced as a means of reconstructing the evolution of the world.
“Music” depicts a young Greek woman playing the lyre, in the guise of which the features of the modern resident of Vienna, Klimt, are guessed. Contrast is the main compositional feature of this canvas. It can be seen, for example, in the deliberate contrasting of the girl’s dark dress and the bright appearance of the instrument. In turn, the picture space, on which a Greek woman is imprinted, surrounded by bizarre patterns reminiscent of notes from afar, is in contrast with the underlined emptiness of other plans. On both sides are stone images of the demon of fertility Silenus and the Sphinx.
The image of the latter can be interpreted in different ways, for example, as an indication of the creative freedom of the artist. This statement was especially close to Klimt. Both the stone statues and the lyre, a well-known symbol of the god Apollo, who patronized art, refer to the era of Antiquity. It is she who, according to the Symbolists, is fraught with undisclosed resources that can renew contemporary art, but this requires some kind of new undefended look at the era when human thought was still in the cradle. Perhaps this is what Klimt meant, specifically comparing the modern and ancient worlds in the picture.
Despite the fact that “Music” refers to the artist’s early works, the features of Klimt’s mature manner are already manifested in it: the use of two-dimensional space, a specific color scheme. This creates an indescribable feeling of the transcendence, unreality of the image, which is so attracted to the paintings of this artist.