Egon Schiele, a key figure in the development of figurative expressionism, focused heavily on the psyche of his subjects, particularly himself. He painted numerous self-portraits throughout his short career as an artist. In these self-portraits, Schiele often portrayed himself in nude and sexually provocative poses. The Seated Male Nude stands out amongst his most notable works from this period.
Painted in 1910, The Seated Male Nude is a striking portrait that shows Schiele’s preoccupation with the human form and its ability to communicate our innermost thoughts and emotions. This piece features Schiele seated on a chair with his head tilted to one side and rotund stomach visible as he looks pensively at the viewer.
Schiele makes use of distorted shapes to create a sense of psychological tension within the painting while also omitting backgrounds and clothing to focus solely on himself as the subject matter. Klimt, who acted as a father figure and guide to Schiele during his early years as an artist, had been influential in inspiring him towards which direction he would take stylistically. As such, The Seated Male Nude is considered by many art historians as one of his most significant works since it showcases this change in style from more traditional techniques towards purer forms of expressionism.
By removing almost all context other than the viewer consistently being able to see only him forces close attention towards Egon creating a certain level of intimacy between painter and painting; further contributing to it remaining such an enigmatic piece till day keeping it consistent with other superb depictions created by Egon Schiele; all emphasizing how much of our identity we can unravel before ourselves through manipulation via brushstrokes or charcoal sketches upon paper or canvas.