Sea-serpents (Friends II)
1904-7 by Gustav Klimt
After the laid bare lovers of postcard 27, it’s apt to show Klimt’s elaborate and colourific paintings in contrast. In Sea Serpents the figures are entwined with each other as well as in paint – the two women at the top of the painting melting into the background, as the vibrant orange of hair is lost in the circles that dance on red. It is these circles that give Klimt’s colour such a feeling of euphoric pattern; they are less of a painting technique than a visually expressive adoration to his muses. Scattered like stars above and below them, they multiply as a bubbling of brilliant colour and celebration; clinging to the lower figure’s hair as a halo. In this postcard gold has been accentuated in the reproduction of the image but, if anything, this only adds to the desired effect of colourfully exquisite composition. We come to the faces later, finding them among the layers, the top three seem at peace, eyes closed, pleasantly and passionately flushed. But the lower figure, left naked, is more suggestive; coy, looking through cat’s eyes, perfect red lips parted and turning towards us. Nudity still plays a big part in this image and it is no wonder that Klimt’s paintings are known to be sexually suggestive, the colour exhilarated with the energy of this ménage a trois.