My husband and I were passing through the capital of Austria on vacation. We had only an hour to walk, so we haven’t gone to the famous Österreichische Galerie Belvedere – what’s the point of looking at great paintings in a hurry?

Nevertheless, I was able to feast my eyes on some masterpieces – I mean the beautiful souvenirs with prints of Gustav Klimt’s works. Those nice things are sold there everywhere.

The Kiss as a Keepsake from Austria

Gustav Klimt lived and died in Vienna. He is known as a symbolist, a member of the Vienna Secession movement (Vienna Secession was the local variation of the international style Art Nouveau).

No doubt you have heard something about his most popular painting –  The Kiss. An embracing couple kneeling among wildflowers are depicted on the canvas. The man kisses the woman on her cheek, they are both dressed, but you feel their strong sexual desire for each other. That union of spiritual and erotic love is exciting.

The Kiss seems a bit mystical thanks to its shine. The lover’s ”garments are adorned with gold leaf and the background, too, is suffused with delicate gold, silver, and platinum flakes” (I’m quoting the description published on the Belvedere Museum’s website).

Many other works painted by Gustav Klimt look luxurious as well. No wonder, that they inspire designers to create something beautiful.

But it was a surprise to know how different souvenirs, related to Gustav Klimt, can be:

  • magnets and keychains;
  • mugs;
  • bookmarks;
  • canvas bags;
  • eyeglasses cases;
  • pill-boxes;
  • T-Shirts and silk neckerchief scarves;
  • mousepads;
  • pocket-mirrors;
  • puzzles – well, in a nutshell, whatever tourists like.

Of course, there were various art reproductions in Vienna souvenir shops, from big photographic posters to small postcards. I’ve bought a postcard.

After a while, I regretted not having bought a Klimt scarf in Austria. And what? It turns out things of that kind are available online. Almost all big internet stores offer them.

They aren’t so unique as I thought… Well, at least now I’ve found a very good gift idea for every occasion.

Gustav Klimt isn’t the only artist who ”feeds” manufacturers of souvenirs.

Copies of paintings by Pierre Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, Van Gogh often embellish T-shirts or mugs. It’s even possible to order women’s hipster panties Starry Night.

I won’t be able to put such panties on, though… Van Gogh’s Starry Night is too lovely to use it that way.

Natalia Usanova

Natalia Usanova

I am a poet and an amateur artist. A few years ago, it seemed to me that creating works of art is a much more important occupation than reading books, visiting galleries or listening to music. Now I don't think so. Let me share with you the masterpieces, which have changed my life and can change yours.

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