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Egon Sciele, The Master of Vienna and Humanity


An Artist in Love with Humanity at the Time of Human Tragedy between 1908-1918

Egon Schiele’s life reads like a whirl wind. Disturbed personal life, war, love affairs of family and models, success, epidemic and death but in between art of the highest order and at a time when Europe was in turmoil tearing itself apart during WWI. A short life between 1890-1918 was enough for the master to produce exceptional art that sells for tens of millions at auctions today.

The Leopold Museum is a few metres away from the Sans Souci hotel I stayed in Vienna and it was the first museum to visit and enjoy the abundance of Schiele work the museum owns and continually tries to enrich, if a work of mention by Schiele appears anywhere in the world. In spite his very short life, the artist was prolific and never stopped painting even during his service in the army between 1914-1917.

Even though Schiele was constantly chased by law for his sexually explicit art during his time, we are happy today to show his work anywhere and admire his talent to draw, to paint human figures and their suffering and finally pay a great tribute to Love through some of his most important paintings I saw in Vienna.

This was the first painting that impressed me in the Leopold Museum. It was not the nude itself nor the provocative position of the young woman. It was rather the innocence in the picture, the innocence of the girl to pose in such a way. It was the happy face posing for a man she probably loved, if this was indeed his model/lover Wally? Was Schiele successful in painting something so provocative and yet so popular?

Well, I saw people staring at it, thronging in the distance admiring the human body in all its nudidity! They were not embarrassed to stand and look for some time as I did. I was not surprised at all to see this particular Schiele being given the most prominent position in the gallery it was hanged! Deservedly so, I add and I loved the painting as many others of this genious master!

When an artist is as talented as Schiele was, there has to be diversion in his work and variety of styles. In this the artist never fails and delivers far beyond his twenty-eight years life. His landscapes even though moody and of lower popularity, demand much respect and greater analysis. Towns, houses and Churches make up most of this work but what interested me most was his use of colour, that particular colour of orange and yellow where one did not expect it.

That was the one element in these paintings that made me look and look again at his landscape paintings. Yes, that little orange or yellow made the paintings masterpieces and they are indeed suns of beauty in his cityscapes and in his houses. Without that genius of the artist, these series and type of work of his, would have been dull, boring and far below in quality compared to his figurative art. That he avoided by employing the bright spots in the centre of most of his paintings of this type.

I loved the work of Schiele and I took long looking at it, seeing it and trying to understand it as much as my intelligence allows. I looked then, I look now and I am indeed astonished at the power of the man, at the ability and talent and at the feelings he managed to punch into his paintings. More than that he conveys them all to us in a mesmerizing manner, in an iconic way that only iconography and churches environment can create such feeling and can elevate paintings to the higher places in our psyche and spirit as humans.

I am sitting still looking and trying to see how this man, this great artist manages to send to me all these feelings of human love, human suffering and human devotion one hundred years ago and I get them, I am with them and I feel them as if I am there living the pain, living the love of the two humans, united and loving each other. They are innocent, they are suffering in an unfriendly landscape that cannot be mistaken for anything else but earth with that promise of green appearing and that hope springing out of the barren earth. Is this an icon or a painting?

Schiele becomes a prophet in his art and reminds us all that LOVE is the basis of all humanity and that in spite of disasters, all sadness and unhappiness, we all find refuge in love and in other humans!

The work of Schiele is immense in quantity but more so in quality and human emotions delivered in classical, expressionist or modern style. Your choice how to describe the method and style but only one way to interpret his serious work and major canvases.

Emotion, Passion and LOVE!!

Mother with her two children impresses me most not just because it is a great Schiele painting but because it gets inside me with its purity of emotion, with its icon looks and posture and the mothers love and care for the innocent children sitting alongside her. If you have ever seen icons closely, then it is a lot easier to understand what the artist is doing in this painting. Head tilted like Virgin Mary in most icons holding Jesus, looking ahead and pensive. The children happy looking at mum but happily dressed in gay clothes indicating happiness and prosperity.

Concluding my entry on Schiele I take my hat off to an artist who inspired me and filled me up with emotions humanity needs to be based on and governed by!


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