It’s the Arts

October 1, 2006

Behind blue eyes
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I spend the last week in Vienna (Austria) and was (besides much sightseeing) able to see the famous “Der Kuss” (The Kiss) of the Austrain artist Gustav Klimt. It somehow awaked the urge in me to compare his original work with the artwork displayed in the intro and outro of Elfen Lied which is inspired by his painting (as most of you already know I’m sure). Well, this idea is not new and Elfen Lied has aired a long time ago, but what the heck. Shall we start?

Okay, the first inspired artwork we see in the intro is “Die Erfüllung” (The Fulfilment).


Die Erfüllung

“Die Erfüllung” is part of the Stoclet Frieze ( 1905-1909 ) which belongs to the collection of the Decorative Arts Museum in Vienna.

The next one is a combination of two paintings. The upper part might be inspired by “Adam und Eva” whereas aspects of both Adam and Eve where used for Lucy. For the lower part “Die drei Lebensalter der Frau” (The Three Ages of Woman) was used.

Elfenlied_03 Adam und Eva

Die drei Lebensalter der Frau

“Adam und Eva” ( 1917-1918 ) is incomplete and belongs to the Austrian Gallery Belvedere collection. “Die drei Lebensalter der Frau” ( 1905 ) is also part of this collection.

“Portrait der Adele Bloch-Bauer” was the origin for the artwork of Yuka.


Portrait der Adele Bloch-Bauer

“Portrait der Adele Bloch-Bauer” ( 1905 ) belongs to the Belvedere collection.

Mayu was a bit tricky but I think “Portrait der Maria Munk” was the inspiration for this one.


Portrait der Maria Munk

“Portrait der Maria Munk” ( 1917-1918 ) is also incomplete and rather unknown as it seems. It belongs to the collection of the Wolfgang-Gurlitt-Museum in Linz.

Nana’s origin was easy again. It’s the “Portrait der Mäda Primavesi”.


Portrait der Mäda Primavesi

“Portrait der Mäda Primavesi” ( 1912 ) is part of the collection of the New Yorker Metropolitan Museum of modern Art.

The next one is even more easy. It’s “Der Kuss” with Kota displayed in detail.


Der Kuss

“Der Kuss” ( 1907-1908 ) is part of the Belvedere collection.

This artwork of Lucy is again inspired by “Die drei Lebensalter”.


Die drei Lebensalter der Frau

(see above)

Again “Der Kuss”, this time Lucy is the detailed one.


Der Kuss

(see above)

This one is inspired by “Wasserschlangen I” (Sea Serpents I).


Wasserschlangen I

“Wasserschlangen I” ( 1904-1907 ) also belongs to the Belvedere collection.

For this one I can only guess. It has some similarity with “Wasserschlangen II” (Sea Serpents II), but not as much as the other ones had with their respective origins.


Wasserschlangen II

“Wasserschlangen II” ( 1904-1907 ) is just like “Wasserschlangen I” part of the Belvedere collection.

That’s all for the intro, the outro has only one artwork. It’s one of Lucy and is inspired by “Danae”.



“Danae” is part of a private collection.

Well, that’s all. By the way, the background of the artworks is also inspired by Klimt, for example by his “Lebensbaum” (Tree of Life).


This one it also part of the Stoclet Frieze.


  1. I loved Elfen lied, this page was very informative. Thx!

  2. The many Klimt references in the intro/outro segments, tho, belie significant differences in Klimt and Elfen Lied. Klimt used nudity to portray the basic humanity of his subjects. In Elfin Lied, tho, nudity is almost always used to highlight *in*humanity. When Lucy/Nyuu is naked, she’s usually in Diclonius mode, out to kill and enjoying it. Even when the other human character (sorry, forget her name offhand) is naked, it’s during the scene where she is remembering being abused by her stepfather — a truly de-humanizing act.

    I didn’t watch this anime for a long time because of all the negative or at least overly descriptive reviews of it. I thought it would be gratuitous. I could not have been more wrong, and I’m glad I watched it. Truly affecting and wondrous. And frakking scary all at once.

  3. Glad you liked it. Haven’t thought about why they used Klimt as reference for the intro and outro, but this sounds very interesting. I have one counter-example: The first time Lucy/Nyuu and Kota meet at the beach. That time she was in her “human-mode”. Nudity often symbolize violability, which here is true for humans, while the diclonius are still as deadly as before.

  4. es erdad
    se re copiaron Elfen Lied de todas esas imaguenes
    pero son mejores las de ElfenLied que las otras
    lade lucy tapandose la cara es mejor q la otra, tiene las re tetas caidas y la re pansa
    bueno pasaense por el flog

  5. w0w

  6. Thank you for the accurate description of the similarities of the intro/outro of the Anime Elfen Lied with the original masterpieces. Great job finding all of them. THANK YOU !!

  7. My pleasure, researching this post was quite interesting.

  8. didn’t know this was all behind Elfen Lied. Great art for sure ! Loved the anime as well, one of the best animes i’ve seen for my whole life !


  9. wow…..i loved this sieries…….but i hate the person who made it only….ah…er….em…..a few eps without ANY other sieries that continues the story, or at least has a HUGE similarity rang……it was a VERY unusual storyline, beutifuly writwn, and had wonderfull art. if anyone knows anime w/ the same # of gore, violence and that creapy sad/lovey duvey fealing- TELL ME!!!

    isrill4ever@gmail.com thanks!

  10. I think “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni” could be quite interesting for you.

  11. Thank you very much! Very interesting post, excellent research and beautiful pictures. I’m a big fan of Elfen Lied and think it is one of the best Anime series I have seen. The dark undertone, melancholia and beauty is unprecedented.

  12. […] in Latin over images that recalled Gustav Klimt’s paintings, as compared in this article here. Art lovers and students should enjoy it, as well as anyone capable of being […]

  13. Awesome! I love your artwork…very inspirational! Sayonara.
    Blessed be,

  14. the pic that is with sea serpants II i think its just the same as the fulfilment just turned sideways

  15. Damn, you’re right. Must have been blind that time. Thanks!

  16. Thanks for putting this on the web ^^,
    Learned some few things from this.
    Well done!
    But I knew that there where arts from Gustav in Elfen Lied.
    I’m a big fan of the anime, love the arts, story, voices and songs/melody (ex. “Lilium” the opening melody).
    But im putting my e-mail adress in this message (maybe not so smart :S), so If anyone know of some good animes, just send me a mail ^^,
    And again, thank you.

  17. This series was quite possibly the most beautiful (atistically) i’ve ever seen. Despite the quirky scenes (im sure you all know which ones im referring to). Too bad there’s only one series. I’d have liked to have seen what happens next, or some sort of spin off would have been cool – thus avoiding ruining the original story.
    Anyway Very interesting page, thanks 🙂

  18. I don’t know how far they differ, but maybe the manga of Elfen Lied might be interesting for you, too. Often the stories in mangas are longer than in the associated animes.

    • the anime was wrapped up before the manga was completed, so there’s a whole extra story arc in the manga, which finishes off elfen lied so much better than the anime. unfortunately, physically the manga was only release in japanese and german, so reading it online is the only option, but I would highly recommend it.

  19. thanks for the post; found the intro to elfen lied very intriguing, so it was nice to know where they derived their artistic inspiration from. =)

  20. i am not speak english

  21. I loved the artwork when I first saw the series, the opening intro, the music which sounded so Beautiful. I would like to express my thanks for providing the inspirations for the Artwork. although EL are not the originals, they are just as beautiful as the classicic paintings

  22. Wooow this is awsome! you did great research..
    thank you for sharing this useful information with the world 🙂

  23. Heya! 🙂

    I have used your clippings in a google doc presentation, for artclasses. I have credded you, hope its okay.

  24. WOW O.O

  25. Wow… Oo
    This is kinda creepy… And I regret that I haven’t found this earlier… Oo

  26. thats amazing, i thought that only ‘the kiss’ was being used. bt the fact that they all come from some famous paintings is, haha damn i love this anime.

  27. I think that the last picture in the intro looks like a mixture of “Wasserschlangen II” and “Die Erfüllung” on it’s side. Am I the only one who thinks this?

  28. this was totally useful ^w^ I’ll have a presentation bout klimt tomorrow and i can explain all of these stuff to my class =3=
    well not all of it :’D
    i watched elfen lied long time ago and its still my top fav anime :3

  29. I love Gustav Klimt’s work and I love the way it’s appropriated in this anime.

  30. Reblogged this on Half Awake in a Fake Empire. and commented:
    This is beautiful,

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