Egon Schiele’s nudes can challenge us and our preconceptions of the artistic tradition of the “nude”. He didn’t paint or draw idealised goddesses. He preferred to present female and male genitalia in full light. Many of the female nudes reference pornographic images and include props such as stockings typically associated with prostitution. Schiele often used prostitutes as models but he also made nudes of his sister, lovers and wife. You can’t escape the palpable eroticism of his work, often truly explicit.
Schiele lead a bohemian life in the early 20th century Viennese cafe culture inhabited by radical intellectuals who asked questions about sex, desire, death and the true nature of humanity. Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams had been recently published. Against this background Schiele looks to reveal the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie and the reality of the human condition. The artist produced some of the most radical depictions of the human figure created in modern times – so radical that in 1912 he was imprisoned for two months for exhibiting his ‘offensive’ nudes.
Below you will find the gallery of some of hundreds of nudes he created in his short life.
1. Kneeling Girl, Resting on Both Elbows, 1917
Standing Nude in Red Jacket, 1913
3. Black-Haired Nude Girl Standing, 1910
4. Reclining Female Nude with Legs Spread Apart, 1914
5. Seated Female Nude with Black Stockings, 1910
6. Blonde Nude Model Sitting on Brownish-Blue Cloth, 1912
7. Two Girls Lying Entwined, 1915
8. Kneeling Semi-Nude, 1917
9. Sitting Female Nude with Yellow Blanket
10. Girl with the Green Stockings, 1916
11. Crouching female nude with bended head, 1918
12. Red-Head Girl in Black Dress with Spreaded Legs, 1910
13. Crouching Woman with Green Kerchief, 1914
14. Two Girls Embracing (Two Friends), 1915
15. Lying Women, 1917