Sexuality Policy Watch

Egon Schiele unapologetic nude

Egon Schiele

On the completion of Egon Schiele’s 100th birthday, Vienna’s Tourist Board started a campaign to promote art exhibitions in honour of Schiele’s work all over Europe. However, the London Underground’s nudity policies, as well as Facebook’s, have censored the advertisement posters for being too racy because of displaying genitals in public spaces. In response, The Board seized the opportunity to spark a debate and introduced censorship strips containing the sentence: “SORRY, 100 years old but still too daring today. #ToArtItsFreedom” (Read here).

In this context, the Sexuality Policy Watch has selected Schiele for an attempt to counterweight the numerous censorship measures being taken around the world, a symptom of a conservative march flared up.


Schiele’s portraits and self-portraits helped re-establish the vitality of both genres with their unprecedented level of emotional and sexual directness and use of figural distortion in place of conventional notions of beauty.

Frequently depicting himself or those close to him, Schiele’s portraits often present their sitters in the nude, posed in revealing, unsettling angles—frequently viewed from above—and devoid of secondary attributes often depicted in the portrait genre. At times, Schiele used traditional motifs, giving the intensely personal images a more general, allegorical statement on the human condition. His work is pornographic while evoking death, decay, masturbation and erotism. It is such a statesman that shocks to this day.

Despite Egon Schiele’s short life, the artist produced an astonishing number of works on canvas and paper. He was instrumental in formulating the character of early twentieth-century Expressionism, characterized by the use of irregular contours, an often somber palette, and frequently dark symbolism. Unlike his mentor, Klimt, with whom Schiele’s name remains most commonly associated, he produced a great number of self-portraits, suggesting a preoccupation with the self on a par with the likes of Picasso. Schiele’s aesthetic greatly influenced both Expressionist contemporaries like Oskar Kokoschka, as well as Neo-Expressionist successors as varied as Francis Bacon, Julian Schnabel, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

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Source: The Art Story

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