Russian Prisoner of War (Grigori Kladjishuli) (1916; Vienna, Austria) by Egon Schiele

Russian Prisoner of War (Grigori Kladjishuli) - Egon Schiele - 1916; Vienna, Austria

Artwork Information

TitleRussian Prisoner of War (Grigori Kladjishuli)
ArtistEgon Schiele
Date1916; Vienna, Austria
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationArt Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, US

About Russian Prisoner of War (Grigori Kladjishuli)

Egon Schiele’s “Russian Prisoner of War (Grigori Kladjishuli)” is a portrait executed in watercolor on paper and dated to 1916, a period marking the intense years of World War I. The artwork was created in Vienna, Austria, and exemplifies the Expressionist movement of which Schiele was a key figure. Currently, this dramatic and emotive artwork is part of the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, located in Chicago, Illinois, United States.

The image portrays a Russian prisoner of war named Grigori Kladjishuli. Schiele has captured the man in a seated pose, depicting him with a somewhat twisted and angular body posture, which is characteristic of Schiele’s style. The subject is dressed in what appears to be a military uniform, and he wears a hat with a distinct insignia, underlining his military connection.

Schiele’s use of color is subdued yet impactful, with red tinges on the man’s cheeks and nose suggesting exposure to harsh elements or possibly the physical strain of his predicament. His facial expression conveys fatigue or resignation, with deep, dark eyes that seem to stare into the distance. The soldier’s facial features are sharply defined, giving the viewer a sense of the intense personal narrative and psychological tension experienced by the subject.

One of the prisoner’s hands is visible and notably detailed, containing elements of both life and weariness. This, combined with the overall composition, underscores the expressionistic aim of conveying emotional experience rather than physical reality. The watercolor medium allows for fluid lines and a certain rawness that complements the stark emotional context of the work. Schiele’s signature and the date of the piece are inscribed at the bottom, providing authentication and historical context for the piece.

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