Artist Review: Egon Schiele


Egon Schiele is an artist that I only discovered last year, when I came across his work in a lecture. Nevertheless, he is one of, if not the, most influential artists from that time, as his expressive style and self-obsession are two things that i felt I shared a connection with, and his influence spread into my works. There was something in the work, despite it’s harsh nature, that drew me in immediately. Was it the emphasis on beauty that Egon so vehemently pursued? or the stark contrast his paintings had, being both beautiful or grotesque? There is something there, there definately is.


‘Death and the Maiden’ (1915-16)

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I have previously discussed this piece in another post, (seen here;  But I could not do an artist review of Schiele without including my favourite piece of his, one that evokes an emptiness within us, despite the apparently warm embrace that the two subjects appear to be in. It’s fascinating, they both cling to each other seemingly out of habit, not out of love, their minds taken with other things, as evidence by their eyes. It really is a striking, yet beautiful piece.  It evokes such an emotion within me, that I feel I could sit with it and stare at it for hours on end, admiring every brushstroke, every colour, every thought and feeling that is buried within the canvas.


‘The Embrace’ (1917)

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Another piece which shows beauty, albeit in a far more refined, more traditional state. The embrace was a piece that I came across in a book about Schiele, which I took out of the library as soon as I had discovered him. It is much more realistic in it’s style than his other works, and manages to capture the moment when time seems to stand still when two lovers embrace, they are perfectly calm, comfortable, within one another’s arms. The way that it is painted is beautiful, the flesh is so supple and so deep, that you could almost reach out and grasp it. There is a sense of voyeurism here, we can see this intimate moment, but the participants seem to have no idea we can. They do not look at the viewer, they instead are so focused on each other that we do not even cross their mind. They are completely infatuated. This is what I want to capture in a piece.

Self-Portrait by Egon Schiele.jpg


‘Self’ (1910)

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‘Self Portrait’ (1908)

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The most interesting aspect of Egon’s body of work, in my own opinion, is his fascination with himself. It’s fascinating to view any of his self portraits, as they vary massively, from horrific, to beautiful. Often blending these two things together to create something wonderful. I especially love the beauty in his brushstrokes, his expressive paintings often show a grimace, or have some darker aura around them, whereas his more beautiful paintings have brushstrokes that are soft, and hardly noticeable; he references the masters, with their use of soft, sooth skin tones to beautify their revered subjects. Egon fascinated me because I shared a lot of traits with him at the time of discovery, but I have moved away from that, becoming far more of my own artist.

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