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Egon Schiele’s Seated Female Nude … skill and sensuality


Egon Schiele’s Seated Female Nude … skill and sensuality

The Austrian figurative painter brings raw sexuality and a nervy human anxiety to the surface

Skye Sherwin
Fri 14 Dec 2018 09.59 GMT

It’s getting hot in here …

Unlike the models posed as lofty goddesses and nymphs that dominate “the nude” in western art history, Schiele’s women work a nervy, very human sensuality. It speaks to our time, as much as it did the sex-conscious intellectual circles of the artist’s fin-de-siècle Vienna.

Egon Schiele’s Seated Female Nude, Elbows Resting on Right Knee, 1914.
 Photograph: The Albertina Museum, Vienna

A line crossed …

Schiele’s skill is in drawing, not painting. His women are all anxious lines, scratched out with an energy that suggests the artist’s feelings towards his subject. This is no softly lit daydream but a vigorous embrace of real flesh and bone.

No pretence …

The teasing stockings and high heels, along with the open legs, are frank about their purpose. The knowingness in the way Schiele depicts the naked body, including his own, makes his supercharged eroticism all the more unsettling.

The eyes have it …

Schiele often just depicted bodies, ignoring the heads. In this 1914 seated nude, however, the model seems to be enduring the objectification imposed by the revealing set-up. The eye contact and chin rested on a hand suggest a challenge, or boredom.


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