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The Representation of Women in the Work of Stefan Zweig and Gustav Klimt

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Write about the representation of women's interior lives and/or sexuality in the work of any or all of the following: Zweig, Klimt, Kokoschka, Freud, Schoenberg.  Are these guys merely misogynists?

In the essay I want to discuss the representation of women in the work of Stefan Zweig and Gustav Klimt. From my point of view, both of them portrait women in a sexual way, which may derive from their femalereification mindset.

Firstly, for Stefan Zweig, he assumes women for having some dark thoughts about their husbands at some point in life. As mentioned in his novel, “Adultery is in most cases a theft in the dark. At such moments almost every woman betrays her husband's innermost secrets; becomes a Delilah who discloses to a stranger, discloses to her lover, the mysteries of her husband's strength or weakness.” I think it fully represents his stereotype on women’s mindset and attitude in relationship.

Secondly, when it comes to Gustav Klimt, with the exception of his early works, he painted portraits only of women. These paintings, along with his drawings, show him to be one of the greatest masters of eroticism in the history of art. I would say rather than ignore women or their importance in life, Klimt actually puts women in a crucial place in his world, just that in a way regarding women as a subject. Many of the works contained in this volume depict erotic scenes of nude women. 

An interesting quote of his is that - "I have never painted a self-portrait. I am less interested in myself as a subject for a painting than I am in other people, above all women. Who ever wants to know something about me... ought to look carefully at my pictures.” The later part of this quote just indicates that – to know something about Klimt, we should look at these women as they are the reflection of a major part of his thoughts.

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