Nuda Veritas

Nuda Veritas

Gustav Klimt and Hermann Bahr

Gustav Klimt's celebrated painting Nuda Veritas (1899) was bequested by Hermann Bahr to the Theatermuseum. "Naked Truth" seems to challenge its beholder with unguarded frontality. The mirror in her hand confronting the audience becomes a programmatic attitude. Schiller's quotation: "IF YOUR DEED AND YOUR ART DO NOT PLEASE EVERYONE, PLEASE ONLY A FEW. PLEASING EVERYONE IS FATAL." stands for uncompromising artistic truthfulness, in the very best sense of the Secession movement, which elected Gustav Klimt as their first president.

Hermann Bahr, tireless propagator of modernism, understood the painting as confirmation of his own artistic actions and purchased it in 1900. In the debate around Gustav Klimt's oeuvre, in particular around the scandalized paintings for the University of Vienna, he passionately took his side. Jointly with Kolo Moser he published the essay "Against Klimt", a collection of journalistic vilifications of Klimt and his art, thus, Bahr felt, exposing their ridiculousness.


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