These changing circumstances correspond to a marked development in the artist’s style and the present work is a clear departure from the artist’s early nudes. Schiele no longer crops the figure radically nor does the drawing carry any overtly erotic connotations. Rather, Schiele portrays the body intact displaying a tendency towards ever greater realism, which is in line with his drawings and watercolours post-1914. Most of his effort is now directed towards capturing the plasticity of the human form, the density of the human flesh and the solidity of muscle. To this end he employs black crayon, which produces a denser and more tangible contour. Schiele sets the figure on the page with unflinching confidence, allowing her to be without support or visible context – a stylistic practice that has become synonymous with Schiele’s entire œuvre.
Schiele’s technical virtuosity, highly original vision and fearless depictions of the naked figure distinguish his nudes as being among his most significant contributions to the development of modern art. His work reflected the maturity of an artist in full command of his talents. Schiele’s drawings of the body have become signifiers of his life and work. More than a century has passed since the Austrian enfant terrible Egon Schiele began the drawings and paintings for which he would become famous – yet not one has lost any of its devilish power to provoke, disturb, or shock.
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