The Maiden, 1913 by Gustav Klimt

"I've already thought of everything possible, I've lived hundreds of lives with my thoughts." Perhaps the central sleeping figure is fantasizing possibilities for her self in the six women surrounding her. This is one possible way to account for the cloud-like oval shaped constellation of women with organic patterned scarves and gowns that is the subject of this painting. It may be a complete world in female form and organic pattern. The Maiden's gown configured with many spirals metaphorically indicates fertility, continual change and the evolution of the universe.

Both during his lifetime and later, there have always been examples of an eroticizing aim to recreate his art or even go beyond it. Other authors have pointed out that the erotic could be regarded as a socio-political and culturally progressive force. Thus, Klimt is seen as an artist who contributed considerably to the emancipation of women and the rediscovery of the lost power of the erotic element, an artist who was critical of his time and its outmoded cultural morality. "Klimt's permanent achievement," wrote Han Bisanz in 1984, "is that he liberated the artistic depiction of human beings from the fetters of morality and opportunism and that he made visible by means of his style, the basic mental images of man's inner life, images that point to a timeless element in the course of a person's individual destiny. And finally, as the quoted passage seems to indicate, Klimt can be seen as a psychologist, as someone who analyzed psychological phenomena and who pursued similar aims to those of his great contemporary, Sigmund Freud.