Mermaids, 1899 by Gustav Klimt

Like Love, this work was created for Gerlach's luxury book, Allegories and Emblems. It displays many of the characteristics already seen in Klimt's work: the realistically modelled central figure, surrounded on three sides by a wide frame with stylized female figures and ornament; motifs from different cultures, such as the Classical capital in front of the central figure, the small silhouettes behind her head derived from Antique vases and the Chinese dragon; the use of the mask, in this case a head with a bulging-eyed, open-mouthed stare, similar to the head in the Hofburg Actor Josef Lewinsky as Carlos; lettering within the picture space; and the use of gold to highlight certain areas. The hooped earrings mirror the 'O' in the word above, encouraging the viewer to look for other repeated circles and patterns in the drawing.

A key element in Klimt's catalogue of motifs makes its first appearance in this work - the heavy, ornate neckband. Reused to great effect in Judith and the Head of Holofernes and Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, the neckband serves to isolate the head from the body. Here, we are led to consider the contrast between the 'living' female and the mask she holds.