I Break My Vow

I have never liked Gustav Klimt's paintings: they remind me too much of the dorm rooms of sentimental freshmen. The Kiss, that monument to decorative passion, has always seemed too much like a substitute for real passion, for real decoration. Seeing it in person has caused me to do a 180: Klimt deserves all the praise he gets. That background really is gold leaf, and seeing it, I finally understand what all those Gothic alterpiece-painters were trying for. Klimt raises the beauty of a decorative painted surface to a new level; you stand there lost in the swirling patterns, colors exploding in your head like a wholly new sense atop the familiar five. I see his Judith I -- head of Holofernes quietly tucked in a corner, almost an afterthought -- and I break my vow.