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The Kiss of the Sphinx

Artist: Franz von Stuck
(Tettenweis 1863 – 1928 Munich)

Date: 1895
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 162.5 × 145.5 cm
Classification: painting
Inventory Number: 124.B
Department: Department of Art after 1800

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The Kiss of the Sphinx

Stuck was one of the founders of the Secession in Munich, 1892. In 1895, the year in which this picture was painted, he was appointed a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, where Kandinsky and Klee both became his pupils. He was the main exponent of the enigmatic imaginary world of symbolism, a model to follow for the experimenters of painting in late 19th century Munich. The lethal embrace of the femme fatale, the sensously attractive, demonic woman is a theme which recurs frequently in his works. Each stylistic device – the composition crammed in a tight, narrow space, the rude colours (which have unfortunately darkened with the passage of time), and the bulky modelling – intensifies the brutal eroticism of the picture.

Ferenc Tóth