Egon Schiele has been called the artist who loved vaginas. This is undoubtably true. But it seems that he adored more than just female genitalia, his drawings and paintings show his love of many other parts of women’s bodies: eyes,
arms, breasts and buttocks - often partially clad in dresses and stockings.
Schiele was born in Lower Austria in 1890. A protégé of Gustav Klimt, he became a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. He started to study art in Vienna when he was 16 years old – during the same period and in the
same place where Freud promulgated his revolutionary insights about sexuality, which he proclaimed the pervasive basis of human existence.
During his life, the artist, whose vision of sexuality was far ahead of his contemporaries, was even imprisoned for his dissolute lifestyle and his drawings, which were considered pornographic. Fortunately, prison didn’t cure him;
on the contrary, it made him more obscene.
Schiele’s works have a unique ability to provoke and intrigue. His perception of the female body is pushed to the extreme, causing a most proximate corporal awareness. Schiele did not objectify women, he was delighted by their rough
unembellished corporeality. The twisted shapes of bodies he depicted are meant to be vivid, not frozen in objectively sexy poses.
EGON SCHIELE, NUDE ON HER STOMACH, 1917
BLACK CHALK AND OPAQUE COLOUR ON JAPANESE PAPER ALBERTINA, VIENNA
EGON SCHIELE, SEATED WOMAN IN VIOLET STOCKINGS, 1917