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Stephen Smith steps inside Vienna's temple to Art Nouveau, the gold domed Secession Building, to wonder at Gustav Klimt's dazzling Beethoven Frieze. Klimt’s 34-metre long masterpiece is on permanent display in the basement of the Sucession, and famously celebrates Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (‘Ode to Joy’) and mankind’s longing for happiness. In a story that combines scandal and revolution, cultural correspondent Stephen Smith explores how Vienna's artists rebelled against the establishment in the late 19th century and brought their own highly-sexed version of Art Nouveau to the banks of the Danube. Looking at the eye-watering work of Gustav Klimt, Smith discovers that Viennese 'Jugenstil' was more than just a decorative delight, but saw artists struggle to bring social meaning to the new style. Revealing the design genius of Josef Hoffman, the graphic work of Koloman Moser and the emergence of the enfant terrible Egon Schiele, Smith unpacks the stories behind a style that burned brightly but briefly at the fin de siecle.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
5 April 2012

Classroom Ideas

Could be used to support a History of Art lesson on the Vienna Secession movement or the work of Gustav Klimt. The class could be asked to consider how other artists have been influenced by music or incorporated storytelling into their work. This method could be applied within the classroom and students could produce expressive drawings in response to a piece of music.