BEETHOVEN FRIEZE; Gustav Klimt
executed in 1902 for the 14th Secession exhibition - The Beethoven Exhibition
The 14th exhibition was centered around Max Klinger’s sculpture of Beethoven. The goal of the artists was to transform the Secession building into a temple dedicated to the composer.
Gustav Klimt’s contribution was a large-scale mural (which he didn’t have time to finish) called Beethoven Frieze. It was based on Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, which was about humanity’s yearning for happiness.
"The Three painted walls form a coherent sequence. First long wall: longing for happiness. The Sufferings of Weak Humanity, who beseech the Knight in armour as external, Pity and Ambition as Internal, driving powers, who move the former to undertake the struggle for happiness. Narrow wall: the Hostile Powers. The giant Typhus, against whom even the Gods battle in vain; his daughters, the three Gorgons. Sickness, Mania, Death. Desire and Impurity, Excess. Nagging care. The longings and desires of mankind fly above and beyond them. Second long wall, longing for happiness finds repose in Poetry. The Arts leads us into the Kingdom of the Ideal, where alone we can find pure joy, pure happiness, pure love. The Choir of Heavenly Angels."
-Catalogue entry for Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze