Death and the Maiden (1915-16) by Egon Schiele

Death and the Maiden - Egon Schiele - 1915

Artwork Information

TitleDeath and the Maiden
ArtistEgon Schiele
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions150 x 180 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationBelvedere, Vienna, Austria
Location Created Vienna, Austria

About Death and the Maiden

Created by Egon Schiele in 1915, “Death and the Maiden” is a symbolic painting executed in oil on canvas. This artwork belongs to the Expressionism movement and measures 150 x 180 cm. It was produced in Vienna, Austria, and presently resides at the Belvedere, which is located in Vienna as well.

The artwork depicts two figures in a close, yet unsettling embrace. On one side, there is a figure personifying death with a gaunt, skeletal face that exudes an aura of decay and foreboding. This figure envelops a young woman in its grasp, representing the maiden. The young woman’s body is rendered with the expressive lines and vibrant colors that are characteristic of Schiele’s work. Her pose and expression convey a sense of vulnerability and resignation to the inevitability of death.

The composition of the artwork is charged with emotional intensity, employing a dramatic contrast between the life-like flesh tones of the maiden and the sickly, earthy hues that depict death. The background is abstract and fragmented, serving to intensify the focus on the central figures and their interaction. The symbolic nature of the painting reflects themes of mortality, the transient nature of life, and the inescapable relationship between life and death. The choice of subject and the visceral execution are both reflective of the broader expressionist movement’s emphasis on raw emotion and the exploration of profound human experiences.

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