Egon Schiele: The Clothed Nude.

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Egon Schiele is by far one of the most quintessential Artist ever to grace the Stage. He is angsty, sexual, emotional, impulsive and a plain old tortured artist. Summing all these attributes and you get one of the most intense and creative styles of rendering the human form. His drawings are froth with emotion, action and soul; the viewer seems to almost know the subject at first glance. Schiele takes the portraiture genre and makes it emotive, rich and sensational.

Egon Schiele was born in 1890, in Austria. Orphaned at a very young age, he endured much heartache and trouble in finding where he belonged. Artistically talented from a very young age, he chose this path his entire life.  Schiele became known as the protege of already established artist, Gustav Klimt. Like Klimt, Schiele’s work was very much about sexuality, the beauty of the female form and sensuality in the handling of media. Unlike Klimt’s work, Schiele chose to render his nudes in a lineal, flat form, with exaggerated shapes; with bulges and sinks in his human forms. Sometimes his women were voluptuous and plump, while others were rendered emaciated with hard edges and rectilineal forms.

There has always been room in the Art World for the strange and the different and Egon Schiele is testament to that. On his work, you get the instant feeling of intrusion. As if you weren’t meant to be seeing what you’re looking at. This is best known as voyeurism. The theme of Voyeurism reveals itself so often in Art History. It is the act of looking in on a private moment unbeknown to the doer of the said action.  Schiele poses his nudes in a very intimate and sexual manner. Reclined with legs parted and demure faces; Schiele’s females are inviting and alluring.

The very lineal handling of his figures suppresses the ranch factor but heightens the sensuality of the figures. Like many line drawings, only the important facets are rendered, allowing the viewer to see the regions of the body that are significant. Schiele takes this technique a step further by defining the legs, feet and hips, thus emphasising the pelvic region without rendering it. In this way, by eliminating the erogenous features of her body, Schiele succeeds in heightening the eroticism in the drawing.

I am not sure if anyone loves Schiele’s work on purely an aesthetic platform, rather, it is the technique and the composition of the figures that makes you fall in love. They are not beautiful renditions of women, they are harsh, grotesque and frankly ugly. However, in this ugliness, there is sensuality, and a true eye of the artist. These images make you feel as though you are looking over the shoulder of the artist as he puts pencil to paper. You feel as though these women were loved by the artist, that there was a connection of lust, in their form and there sexuality. He draws them based on his knowledge of them, not just what is set before him.

What makes Schiele work so very engaging is that he took the animalistic drive of the human physic and placed it on paper. He gave the public an image that could only be previewed behind closed doors.His work is technically important and his method of understating to overstate is still used by many artists today.

Be sure to check out more of Egon Schiele’s work on many of his tribute websites.