Monday, December 15, 2014

Emotion: Rembrandt and Schiele

A recent trip home to visit family, friends and my adorable Godchildren left little time for my usual checklist of galleries, exhibitions and historical buildings. I had to narrow down the list considerably. I visited The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square where the big show of the season, Rembrandt: The Late Works, was held. I confess I know little about Rembrandt and would not have put him on my list of favorite artists. However, I am now a convert. The depth, light, expression, variety of techniques - including very impressionistic strokes - and above all, emotion, were overwhelmingly powerful. I am not an art critic with the gift of words so I will just say that I was very moved and inspired as an eager artist!

Moving on to The Courtauld Gallery where a bold display entitled, Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude, awaited me. Schiele has been on my list of favorite artists for quite a few years now. I love his use of line and shape, exaggeration, brashness and slightly macabre expression. A spirited discussion with a dear friend after I had seen both shows reminded me that what I react to when I look at a painting that excites me, from any era, is emotion. It just makes you feel, so that you can't take your eyes away and keep coming back for more. You might not be able to explain how something makes you feel but you are moved. Deeply. Schiele and Rembrandt maybe worlds apart in centuries and style but they were both masters of expression and emotion.

Rembrandt, Self Portrait with Two Circles 1665-1669 (photo Rijksmuseum)
Egon Schiele (photo The Courtauld Gallery)

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