Egon Schiele opens the world of visual distortion and traveling away from traditional, conventional and the definition of beauty is in the other world
The essence of human existence, what drives it forward or backward is the question
“Bodies have their own light which they consume to live: they burn, they are not lit from the outside.”
― Egon Schiele
Schiele was fascinated with human body, playing with the shape, distorting it, fragmenting and always focused in capturing the ethereal behind it all. Although categorized as a prime example of Austrian Expressionism he was exposed to Art Nouveau and Secession often opposing them.
Gustav Klimt played a very important part in the formative years of Schiele, influencing young painters to the point that many interpret the painting The Hermits of 1912 depicting himself and Klimt as the figure behind.
Human psychology as a measure of everything
“At present, I am mainly observing the physical motion of mountains, water, trees and flowers. One is everywhere reminded of similar movements in the human body, of similar impulses of joy and suffering in plants…”
― Egon Schiele
Schiele was not only observing and connecting with the emotional spectrum a human is capable of but also reflected some of the deepest and the most primordial aspects such as death, tormenting of the times and exploring the sexuality. There was a lot of controversy, rebellion against the societal norms and academia that he found himself so many times at the outside of comfortable living.
“Art cannot be modern. Art is primordially eternal.”
The time will come when psychology as a science will merge with artists who explored it so deeply. Schiele was experiencing the war in Europe, faced death, tragedies and scarcities so many times in his short life, he was twenty-eight when he died, and yet human condition was at the core of his art. Even though influenced heavily by Klimt, his focus on the freedom and unrestricted brush strokes bypassed all limitations.
Schiele was fascinated by the medieval Krumau, in southern Bohemia, a birth place of his mother. He lived there for a short period until the inhabitants drove him and his lover out of the town, due to their lifestyle that was deemed unacceptable at the time in such a scenario of a small town. His paintings of the landscape and the town itself also speak of human psychology. The dead city III is not only about the abandoned houses but about the dying spirit that ignites the human body. The four trees are not about the trees but rather depict the fact that those who follow the rules lose the leaves the fastest. The healthiest fullest trees are on the sides.