Gustav Klimt «The kiss» as 10.000 NFT: it’s not art, it’s business.

Gustav Klimt’s words at the opening session of the Vienna Art Exhibition (Kunstschau Wien) in 1908 are now appropiate: «we conceive the term artist as broadly as the concept of a work of art. We call artists not only to the creators, but also to those who recreate themselves, those who are capable of sensibly understanding what has been created and appreciating it». But to appreciate a work of art you have to agree that a work of art is a whole and it is necessary to respect its integrity. How can digital pieces of a work of art could be accepted and sold as art? This criticism applies not only to the fragmentation of “The kiss (Lovers)” in NFT, a new investment asset for fools of the digital age, but to all the T-shirts, vases, watches and products that mutilate the work, including that «immersive experience» in which «The Kiss» appears deconstructed and three-dimensionalized.

Of course, for example, a Viennese art historian and senior manager of the Belvedere said one day -you can hear it in a video circulating on the Internet- that Klimt was «bad anatomist» and that the legs of the woman in «The kiss» were «badly done». How is it possible? Consequently, if someone publishes a book with a cover on which the Klimt painting appears in such a way that her legs are cut off, we are doing the artist a favor by correcting her flaws. This way of doing things is already contrary to the Belvedere’s goals of maintaining its legacy. The web page of the Galerie says that «the collection is at the heart of our work» ; that «art, research, and education are our core domains»; «respect and appreciation» and so on. Are 10,000 NFTs a good pedagogy?

It is true that Klimt’s painting has been compared to Rodin’s “The kiss” when they respond to two different literary traditions or stories: the kiss between Paolo and Francesca is not the same as that between Apollo and Daphne. Nothing happens, all comparisons, even if only the title of the work coincides, are legitimate. But please, don’t cut Daphne’s legs off!: those bent and stretched legs are her salvation because her mother Gea -what is usually called the «cosmic abyss»- absorbs them to root the laurel in which she is being tranformed.

Didn’t the management of the Belvedere wonder what Klimt would think of all this? My opinion is that he would consider this business as a worse affront than the rejection of his paintings for the University of Vienna.

Who owns a work of art? the virtual buyer of an encrypted ten-thousandth part or the one who sensibly understands and appreciates the work in its totality?

Please, stop mistreating Klimt’s work and respect yourself.

Der Kuss. Öl auf Leinwand. 1907/08. Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Wien, Österreich. The kiss. Oil on Canvas. 1907/08.

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