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Life truly imitates art in this set of photos of models recreating some of Austrian symbolist Gustav Klimt’s most famous paintings. The images were taken earlier this year for the Life Ball in Vienna, Europe’s biggest charity fundraiser, which went “gold” in support of people with HIV or AIDS.
“To awaken a spirit of optimism, liveliness and activity in every single person – that is the goal,” it says at the event’s website.
Models were costumed and painted as an embodiment of Klimt, whose work featured primarily the female body marked by a frank eroticism, and found success in his later years for his mosaic-like “Golden Phase” paintings.
His gold technique and Byzantine imagery feels surreal in these real-life re-enactments of works like The Beethoven Frieze, painted in 1902, or oil painting Danaë in 1907. Danaë was imprisoned by her father, King of Argos, in a tower of bronze, an image that Klimt never completed, but is realized in the pictures. She was painted as the quintessential symbol of divine love, and transcendence, values that the event seeks to apply as the inspiration to cure our modern day problems.