One of the recurring themes in the works of Gustav Klimt paintings was the female shape, often shown as the femme fatale or in the nude woman. The 1916 painting “The Friends” offers an example where both of these forces seems to be at works simultaneously. The painting depicts two female friends together. One is naked while the other is covered by a red cloak. Their style of dress gives the impression of exotic origins, potentially from the Arab world, though they are both Caucasian in look. The presence of a dragon-like peacock to the left of the women amplifies this exotic appeal. The background for the painting is red, unlike the many earlier golden works of Klimt.The nude woman wears a scarf covered in symbols around her head. However, aside from that one piece, the remaining cloth in the painting is devoid of obvious symbols, unlike what is seen in many earlier Klimt paintings. Nevertheless, the many birds and flowers surrounding the fair are instead inbued with their own symbolic meaning. When looking at “The Friends”, it can be hard to see which of the two the femme fatale is. Indeed, both women can be said to fit that particular description. Not that this in any way diminishes the appeal of the motive – it would rather be the other way around. Gustav Klimt reproductions.