The Family (1918) by Egon Schiele

The Family - Egon Schiele - 1918

Artwork Information

TitleThe Family
ArtistEgon Schiele
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions152 x 162.5 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationBelvedere, Vienna, Austria
Location Created Vienna, Austria
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About The Family

“The Family” is an oil on canvas artwork by the artist Egon Schiele, completed in the year 1918. This expressionist painting measures 152 x 162.5 cm and falls under the genre of a portrait. The artwork is located at the Belvedere museum in Vienna, Austria. Egon Schiele, associated with the Expressionist movement, created this artwork in Vienna, which resonates with the intense emotional and psychological themes characteristic of the movement.

The artwork depicts a compelling and raw portrayal of a family — an adult male and female, alongside a young child nestled between them. The male figure, stretched across the top of the canvas, with gaunt limbs and piercing eyes, commands attention with his intense gaze. Below him, the female figure sits with rounded, fuller forms, her body language seeming more grounded and stable compared to her counterpart. In her lap, the child, rendered with simplistic features, clutches onto the female figure and glances outward, his expression a mixture of innocence and curiosity.

The color palette of the artwork is dominated by earthy tones, with flashes of brighter colors in the clothing that add depth and convey a sense of the personal, the intimate. The brushwork is expressive and bold, with the textures adding to the overall emotional weight of the scene. The figures’ stylization, with distorted and exaggerated features, is typical of Schiele’s work and is indicative of the Expressionist goal to evoke emotional responses rather than to represent the world with realism.

Overall, the painting is rooted deeply in the emotional landscape, characteristic of Schiele’s work, and the broader context of Expressionism where the subjectivity and anguish of human existence are at the forefront. The positioning of the figures and their ambiguous relation to each other adds a layer of tension and mystery to the narrative of the artwork.

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