Egon Schiele Biography

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Egon Schiele (1890-1918) was a man concerned with issues of sexuality and death. Like other members of the Expressionist movement of the early twentieth century, he was fascinated with making his mental processes visible through his art. He wished to express his feelings about sexuality directly, rather than alluding to the subject as so many artists had done previously, artists such as Manet or Ingres. Instead, he took his cue from the influences of Rodin and Gustave Courbet, dealing with his subject directly, as he does in the piece Nude with Green Turban (1914). But unlike Courbet, who dealt with his subject in an effort to shock and influence the staid French Royal Academy, as in the case of L'Origine du Monde, 1866 (at right), Schiele explores the issue of sexuality in an attempt to express his own fascinations with the subject, irregardless of the opinions of others.

In Nude with Green Turban, the subject is placed in a blank space. She is seemingly alone, so alone that there is nothing in the world of the piece except her. It's as if the viewer is meant to become part of the immediacy of her moment. Indeed, this may be what Schiele intends, having become lost in his own moment of artist to subject. Schiele owes much of this immediacy to Rodin's innovation of the continuous line drawing, and Schiele employs the method here. He has sketched her quickly, capturing her in her moment before going back to fill in the details. However, he has only completed the details selectively. Her shoes are well rendered, as are the shadows and fullness of her thighs and hands. In the turban as well, he has completed the small details of a knot, and filled it with the same color as the colors he's used as emphasis to the shadows her hands create. But her face is hastily done, her nose and closed eyes mere triangles. Her mouth is only the symbol of a mouth. She's as if she's a puppet, expressionless with no individuality. In so doing, he has removed the humanity from her,...
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