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Gustav klimt. Danae. (1907).

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Gustav klimt. Danae. (1907). Symbolism. 

In Greek mythology Danae is the girl of Acrisios, king of Argos and it becomes the mother of Perseus. According to the legend his father locks up it in a tower so that no one cannot approach it because it fears an oracle which predicted that it must perish with the hand of his grandson. The god Zeus enthusiast by the beauty of the young girl, takes the shape of a gold rain to join it and conceive Perseus. Despite everything its efforts, Acrisios is then killed accidentally by Perseus at the plays of Larissa… Klimt is contemporary of Sigmund Freud and the psychoanalysis is already known in Vienna, it knows the legend and Greek mythology, it thus represents the scene of fecundation. This painting represents the conception of Persée and Danaé tests pleasure even if it also seems to sleep and dream.


The point of view of the witness is at the level of the face of Danae. As often at Klimt a circular motion wraps the character. Then the glance notices the rain from which the direction is different. 

The face of Danae is located above the high horizontal tension field, between 2 natural points of interest. The rain (Zeus) is on the left vertical tension field, also between 2 natural points of interest.

Klimt establishes a clear separation between the face of Danae one the higher third and the remainder of its body one the 2 lower thirds. 

All that relates to Danae points out the circular roundness and forms. In opposition the shape of the divine rain which represents the god Zeus allegorically is of rectangular form, a strong male symbol. 

Details : 

Although it seems sleeping Danae smiles. Dreams or pleasure? Here is all the ambiguity of the subject the model is conscious or not ?

Another strong evocation, the hand of Danaé seems to want to scratch its bosom. 

This divine rain symbol of the Zeus god consists of drops chestnuts or forms but also of rectangular sticks of forms. 

Light : Painting is enlightened of in bottom on the left. 

Colors : Harmony between hot colors. 

Similar Paintings :

Gustav Klimt. The Kiss. (1907-08). 

Gustav Klimt. The Virgin. (1913). 

Gustav Klimt. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. (1907).