Title: Danae
Year: 1907
Size: 77 x 83 cm (Oil on canvas)
Location: Galerie Würthle, Vienna, Austria

Danaë, the daughter of King of Argos, was a popular subject in the early 1900’s for many artists; she was used as the quintessential symbol of divine love. Warned by the oracle that he would be slain by his grandson, the King ordered Danaë to be locked in her bedroom.

In this magnificent collotype from Klimt, it depicts Danaë, at the moment that Zeus came to her in the form of golden rain, and impregnated her. Their child was Perseus, who is cited later in Greek mythology for slaying the Medusa. In his characteristic style of the Golden Period, Klimt renders the subject’s flesh realistically and abstracts the background for emphasis. Danaë is pictured as a modern red-haired woman, curled up in a sumptuous royal purple veil which refers to her imperial lineage. Her facial expression suggests that she is in a dream- or trance-like state during the celestial visitation.