Illustrations for 'Die Nibelungen' by Frans Klein, illustrated by Carl Otto Czeschka, 1906.
An ancient epic poem of Germany, 'Die Nibelungen' is a heroic tale passed down from the oral epics of ancient Pagan Germany. It tells the story of the dragon-slayer of legend, Seigfried and the mythological events surrounding his life. This story is well known as the great opera of Wagner, Der Ring des Nibelungen. Produced exactly 30 years after the opera premiered, this book by Klein and illustrated by Czeschka reflect the ornamental style present in some illustration of the time. Here, figures are composed almost entirely of abstracted ornament instead of sensual contours. They very much reflect a standard set by Gustav Klimt, which was the subject of much attention at the same time this book was published.
'Jurisprudence' detail, Gustav Klimt, oil on canvas, 1903-1907
(source Dorotheum Auctions)