View Full Version : DBWI: Egon Schiele the Artist
January 26th, 2012, 08:39 PM
I recently read some biographies of famous German military leaders and I found out that General Egon Schiele once attempted to apply for the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 1907. Apparently, he just barely didn't make it, with a student named Adolf Hitler being accepted instead (interestly enough, Hitler died serving under Schiele in the Great War), and it convinced him to join the military. So, what would happen if Schiele got into art school instead of Hitler?
January 27th, 2012, 05:39 PM
Well, I have read somewhere that the reason for Schiele's failing was that Hitler have stolen some drawings from him and presented them to Academy commission as his own. So the death of Hitler wasn't accidental at all. It was known that Schiele could be petty vengeful if wronged. What would be Schiele's life if he wasn't a professional officer? Well, he was known of his affairs with young women and his pornographic sketches were famous among the ordinary soldiers. Hard to tell what he would paint or draw as an artist. He would probably die of syphilis in young age assuming he would maintain his way of life but without having access to military brothels with healthier prostitutes. We could say that he had rather unconventional attitude which helped him when dealing with enemy but hurted him in relations with his superiors.
I don't think Schiele would establish some kind of new style or shool in art. His military achievements indicate that he wasn't a great strategist or even tactician (his battle plans were rather conventional but he used to improvise something unpredictable during the fight which confused his enemies. His victories mainly stem from high morale of his troops - I mentioned his sketches previously - and the fact the openly refused to lead them to mindless slaughters. So the soldiers knew that when Schiele orders them to stand fast and endure, there must be a reason. If this could translate somehow into artistic thinking we would suppose that Shiele would be just one more mediocre painter with ocassional strokes of genius, liked by other artists but disliked by average people from his epoch (who were very conservative).
January 27th, 2012, 06:01 PM
I've seen copies of those sketches. The man had an... unusual style.
January 27th, 2012, 06:40 PM
Would his mediocrity as a tactician necessarily translate to artistic mediocrity though? A capacity to improvise might well breed original thinking and experimentation in the artistic arena, particularly when a mistaken experiment is not nearly so costly in art as in war.
Having seen some of his work, it certainly seems rather striking and I know of some other artists working in related directions in Germany. Maybe he'd come into contact with them?
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