Saturday 9 January 2021

Self-Portrait: Icebreaker

 Here is my 15-minute self-portrait, which was inspired by Egon Schiele.  I used a 3b pencil and charcoal coloured pencils.  Here I feel I have captured some of my inner pain, frustration and anger!  Very therapeutic!

Egon Schiele was a German Expressionist (1880-1918) who, in his short life - he died of Spanish Flu, achieved so much.  The Leopold museum states; [Schiele] 'managed to create an oeuvre that was both symptomatic of and groundbreaking for his times, making him one of the most formative and colorful figures of Viennese Modernism.' (Leopold Museum: 2020).  Schiele created many self-portraits and these pained and divisive images exposed his own inner turmoil but also reflected the zeitgeist of the times.  Schiele used a continuous drawing technique which created intimacy between himself and the sitter.  As Schiele often drew nude figures, he was also arrested and charged with public immorality for distributing obscene drawings (originally he was arrested for seducing and kidnappinng a minor - luckily the charges were downgraded) in 1912 and the police confiscated over 100 drawings. He spent 24 days in jail. (Tate 2021) 

Later on, when Hitler came to power in 1933 Schiel's work was considered to be degenerate art.  Schiele's and other 'degenerates artists work either ended up being auctioned in Switzerland or it was burned in Berned by the Nazis. The joy of expressionist work is that it aims to express what is inside not surface beauty - this is part of the reason that many found this work difficult and private sitters would not pay for something that they would consider to be ugly. 'His decorative commissions for the Wiener Werkstatte - either too abrasive or too sexually explicit - almost invariably went awry, and his portraits were frontal assaults on a sitter's vanity. His profligate habits eventually exasperated his patrons - mostly older men, from whom Schiele expected a fatherly devotion that they were ill-prepared to provide.' ( 2011) After Schiele was imprisoned and he grew older he became less introspective and more outward-looking and his self-portraits reduced.  Schiele went to war in World War I for the Austro-Hungarian army and this changed his outlook and his work.  Schiele in his own life only managed a fairly small amount of success as an artist and a very small income.  

A brilliant man, ahead of his times, managed much in his short life. 


Leopold Museum (2021) Egon Schiele [Online] Available from: (Accessed 09/01/21)

Tate (2021) Tate Liverpool: Five things to know: Egon Schiele [Online] Available from: (Accessed 09/01/21)

Egon Schiele (2011) Egon Schiele: Paintings [Online] Available from: (Accessed 09/01/21)

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