In Art that lives on expression of dead subjects his genius shines. With each hard brush stroke he claims a retinal cell and soon my vision is conquered. I see scratches of a forgotten soul emaciated and under hardwood floors, of loneliness. He has scratched in the face of a mother and her newborn.
One’s eyes are closed and the other’s opened in terror. They are a beautiful, pristine and hypnotic striking blue of a whirlpool.
The dreary sombre browns of the mother’s face and her strangling embrace of her child; her long bony fingers that grasp him and her thumb behind his back to: hold his spine? or to press a nerve? One can guess.
It is the rosy life of the child that blushes on the edges of the scream. He is locked within the frame of the portrait with no release. His left palm stretched and pressed. His thumb hooked and too far away from his parted red lips to provide a comforting suckle.
Where is the child’s right hand and in what position under this shroud of smothering darkness?
I can only wonder at Egon’s fingers.
I love Egon Schiele’s works. I felt their power first-hand in the art museums of Vienna. I went there primarily to admire Gustav Klimt’s paintings and designs and came back being more profoundly impacted by Schiele. I had never experienced such rawness and vulnerability in a painting before. Schiele broke all social rules and didn’t do it as a gimmick. He lived a life of loss and died before he could enjoy commercial success. The “Dead Mother” series, to which the above painting belongs, is incredibly moving. If you are ever in Vienna please visit the Leopold Museum to enjoy Schiele’s masterpieces.