Sexual Fables

This article accompanies the fable
Immortal Beloved


Gustav Klimt's amazing Beethoven frieze of 1902 is inspired by Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. That's not Beethoven in the middle.


Denounced by many as pornography when it was first exhibited, Klimt wanted here to evoke the life and death passions and sexuality imbued in Beethoven's music. That's the three Gorgons of Greek myth on the left (with their uglier cousins Illness, Madness and Death behind them). Lolling around on the right are Lasciviousness, Wantonness and Intemperance. You have to look elsewhere, to the final panel, to find The Ode to Joy and the triumph of the arts over death.

The Beethovenfries is in the Secessionsgebäude (Secession Building) in Vienna.

For other Klimt's, see here and here and here.

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