Art on This Day
The Austrian painter, Egon Schiele died on this day in 1918 aged 28 years old. A protégé of Gustav Klimt, Schiele was a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. His work is noted for its intensity and its raw sexuality, and the many self-portraits the artist produced, including naked self-portraits. The twisted body shapes and the expressive line that characterize his paintings and drawings mark the artist as an early exponent of Expressionism.
In his early years, Schiele was strongly influenced by Klimt and Kokoschka, as well as influences from Art Nouveau. Although imitations of their styles are noticeably visible in Schiele's first works, he soon evolved his own distinctive style. In 1910, he began experimenting with nudes and within a year a definitive style featuring emaciated, sickly-coloured figures, often with strong sexual overtones emerged.
Progressively, Schiele's work grew more complex and thematic, and after his imprisonment in 1912 he dealt with themes such as death and rebirth, although female nudes remained his main output. During the war his paintings became larger and more detailed. Since 1915, his female nudes had become fuller in figure, but many were deliberately illustrated with a lifeless doll-like appearance. Some view Schiele's work as being grotesque, erotic, pornographic, or disturbing, focusing on sex, death, and discovery.
Schiele focused on portraits of others as well as himself. In his later years, while he still worked often with nudes, they were done in a more realist fashion. His self-portraits were established with their unique level of emotional and sexual honesty and use of figural distortion in place of conventional ideals of beauty.
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