Framed By Klimt

Gustav Klimt was a highly influential Austrian painter and illustrator who was born in 1862, and who died in 1918. He was one of the founders of the Vienna Secession movement, whose members hoped to create a new style of art, breaking with historical influences and tradition.

Klimt explored many themes such as love and the cycle of life, but is best known for his look at sexuality in art, considered highly controversial during the stuffy Victorian era in which many of his works were created. Some of his most beautiful paintings showed women enveloped in luxurious shapes, colours, patterns and costumes. The use of gold also comes to mind when thinking of his sumptuous work. His prominent use of gold leaf was thought to be influenced by his father’s profession as an engraver, as well as Byzantine imagery and the mosaics of Venice seen throughout his travels.

This project focusses on Klimt’s richly patterned works, infused with delicious golden swirls and textures. You’ll be painting a frame, which can then be used to display your own artwork or favorite photo.


  • light coloured wooden frame eg. dollar stores, Ikea
  • acrylic paints, including gold
  • assorted paint brushes eg. #2 round, #8 flat
  • sponge
  • pencil and scrap paper


1. We will be painting a frame inspired by Klimt’s use of shapes, patterns and colours. This will involve the use of gold paint, although it should be noted that Klimt used gold leaf which is costlier and trickier to work with. Begin by searching for Gustav Klimt on the internet to view his work. You’ll find the images below suitable for children:

The Kiss

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

The Expectation

Life Tree

2. Decide on which pattern/patterns you would like to use. You may want to divide the frame into sections, filling each one with a different pattern. Or, you may choose to fill the entire frame with one particular pattern. Use pencil and paper to roughly draw the shape of the frame, and experiment with placement.

3. Determine which colours to use and mix them. Begin by applying the base colours and allowing them to dry. You may want to combine two or more colours using a sponge, in order to create rich textures. Finally, paint the shapes you have decided on. Remember to use lots of gold paint for a luxurious look like in Klimt’s work!


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Filed under Gustav Klimt, painting

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