Gold leaf art dates back to Ancient Greece, where it was used to gild statues of gods. Over the years, gold leaf has been widely used in sculpture and painting

Many famous painters have used it. “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt is a perfect example. Nowadays, the use of gold leaf has different meanings according to the message that the work conveys. In addition to art, there are numerous outstanding examples in architecture and interior design.

Mathias Kiss, one of the emerging interior designers of the past few years, certainly knows how to mix craftsmanship and contemporary art, becoming a reference for Parisian creatives. His long career has allowed him to analyse the past trends and bring them back en vogue with a futuristic edge, thereby developing a dual creative personality over time. Mathias Kiss does gold leaf art in almost every work. After a past as a glass painter and fresco restorer, Kiss is now exploring a territory without defined boundaries, in the pursuit of new communication languages. His latest project, “Out of Time”, consists of a range of furniture covered with gold leaf in tones of white, platinum, and palladium, created for the Wooyoungmi fashion house.

Gabriel Orozco is another authoritative gold leaf artist. He creates a relationship with the public through drawings, installations, photography, sculpture, and video, making them explore and boost their imagination. His latest series of works, showcased at the White Cube in Hong Kong, includes different formats, from postcards to posters, the base of all of which is completely covered in gold leaf. The artist views the golden surface as an empty space that needs to be filled. A white canvas to be painted.

Another example is Mariolina Dufour, who has been doing gold leaf art in the Quinto Alto countryside near Florence for years.

She has always been passionate about art and drawing and, after 15 years in the restoration field, she decided to dedicate herself to painting.

The idea of her creations stems from a work of art that her master, specialising in gold leaf gilding, had commissioned for Slovenia. This allowed her to learn various gilding techniques, step by step.

In the past two years, Dufour has combined her passion for gold leaf art with that for animals.

The result is her new art collection, “Animali Preziosi”, which includes representations of different animals on wooden frameworks previously gilded with 23 carat Manetti gold leaf.

Her technique consists in the initial gold leaf gilding of a plywood (or seasoned wood) tablet previously sanded with sandpaper. The drawing is made before laying the 20 mm thick 23 kt gold leaf.

Once the gold leaf is burnished, the surface is ready to be painted with egg yolk and other ground pigments.