Handwritten Notes and Fingerprints
Klimt's fundamental concept for the work is clearly evident in his initial sketches and studies. From his time as a mural painter, he had mastered the technique of preliminary drawing with a square grid on paper. For the Stoclet dining hall, the dimensions of the paper corresponded exactly to the dimensions of the mosaic. For these full-scale drawings, Klimt chose tracing paper, presumably because he initially planned to trace the images directly by turning the paper over. However, while completing his designs with water-based gouache paint, the paper warped and buckled, thereby altering its dimensions. To compensate for this, the paper was laminated onto correctly-sized canvas. This in turn resulted in wrinkling, and various cuts and interruptions to the design itself. Despite these efforts, the moist paint meant the paper would continuously lift from the canvas. Klimt would repeatedly press the paper back onto the canvas, leaving his fingerprints in the liquid paint.He developed his initial chalk sketches with the use of pencils and graphite, occasionally with the aid of a curved ruler. After applying paint, he would retrace the outlines. Klimt revised his drawings over and over. To make corrections he would use white paint and paint over areas already drawn or developed. Either that, or he would simply cross the affected areas out. In addition to gold, silver and bronze, Klimt also used platinum in metal leaf form – which was even then considerably more expensive than gold.