Standing male nude with a red loincloth | Egon Schiele | 1914

Standing male nude with a red loincloth | Egon Schiele | 1914

Standing male nude with a red loincloth | Egon Schiele | 1914

Considering the insistence of the young Schiele, his poor school performance and inability to relate to his peers, his uncle authorizes him to move to Vienna to pursue a career in art. He is accepted in the Academy of Fine Arts of the city but he drops out before completing the first year, disappointed by the conservative teachings of the institution.

He then decides to find Gustav Klimt, an artist for whom he had the utmost respect and admiration. At that time, Klimt was already renowned, especially for being the leader of the Viennese Secession, a avant-garde collective that opposed the traditionalism of the Association of Austrian Artists. Klimt immediately acknowledges the skill of the teenager for the painting of portraits and becomes his teacher.

Schiele had a great ability for drawing: as many of the expressionists of the time, he painted each portrait quickly, without hesitating. He never corrected his work: if he was not satisfied with the result, he just discarded the sheet he was working on and began a new one. While at first his paintings resembled those of Klimt, as time passes, they become increasingly bizarre and grotesque. The extremely thin figures of his nudes are shown in extravagant and unnatural poses. Several of them, sexually explicit, caused a widespread rejection in the conservative Viennese society. The artist was even accused of corruption of minors and spent a short time in jail.

Schiele had an obsession with self-portraits. Standing male nude with a red loincloth is one of them and, like the rest, it has no background. The fact that the artist is isolated in his works speaks of the emptiness and isolation he experienced. Schiele’s body here appears distorted through firm and confident strokes, and his hands twist his head at an impossible angle. The bright-red loincloth covering his genitals is associated with the intensity of sexual impulses and interrupts the lack of color in the rest of the canvas. His more than a hundred self-portraits attest the narcissism of the artist who, through these paintings, explored his own self, his anguish and loneliness.

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~ by Álvaro Mazzino on April 5, 2013.

2 Responses to “Standing male nude with a red loincloth | Egon Schiele | 1914”

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