Gustav Klimt and The Painted Kiss

The Painted Kiss by Elizabeth Hickey.

This book is not one of my A-Z Book Challenge books.  This is one I chose because I saw the cover in the library and recognized the artist. I like the art of Gustav Klimt so I was interested to read this novel, based on the life of the artist.  I was not disappointed in the book.

From the book jacket:

Gustav Klimt was a tormented, brilliant and sensual artist.  In The Painted Kiss, Elizabeth Hickey imagines his life through the eyes of his love, Emilie Flöge.

Vienna in 1886 was a city of elegant cafés, grand opera houses, and a thriving and adventurous artistic community. It was there that the young Emilie met the controversial painter Gustav Klimt. As his protoge and friend Emilie entered his world of artists, wanton models and decadent patrons, which both terrified and fascinated her. Their love affair blossomed as Emilie matured into an acclaimed designer and owner of an exclusive fashion house.  

Although she was never sure of her place in his life, Emilie supported Klimt through tragedy, self doubt, triumph and scandal and ultimately sat as the model for his greatest masterpiece The Kiss.  

This book reminded me a great deal of The Girl With the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier.  The Painted Kiss is a love story but with the added bonus of information about many of the artist’s famous works.  I found I kept flipping to the internet to find out which painting was being referred to.

The story is beautifully told and I felt empathy for Emilie.  She and her sisters reminded me of the BBC television series The House of Elliot.  The cultural life of Vienna is brought to life and this is a book well worth reading, particularly if you like the art of Gustav Klimt.

To learn more about The Painted Kiss and its author, Elizabeth Hickey, visit this website. She has some of the history of the artist on her site.

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