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How To Experience Passionate Love According To Egon Schiele

Can humans reach perfection?According to Judeo-Christian religions, God created Adam in his own image and likeness. However, as alchemist traditions state, before Adam and Eve, God created a hermaphrodite being called Rebis, which looked exactly as its creator. Realizing it could be as powerful as a divinity, God decided to split Rebis in two, creating a […]



Can humans reach perfection?

According to Judeo-Christian religions, God created Adam in his own image and likeness. However, as alchemist traditions state, before Adam and Eve, God created a hermaphrodite being called Rebis, which looked exactly as its creator. Realizing it could be as powerful as a divinity, God decided to split Rebis in two, creating a man and a woman. However, the idea of perfection remained in their unconscious, driving them to an eternal pursuit of divine superiority.


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Since ancient times, cultures have tried to represent perfect and nearly divine human beings. Perhaps we’re trying to regain our divine and powerful status, and that’s why societies have imposed the ideal representations of perfection. But what happens when we see a body represented in unconventional ways? Does it loose its potential to be perfect? Does perfection only aim at these beauty standards? We have been taught that Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius who perfectly represented the human body; then, what happens with geniuses like Picasso? Are his distorted characters imperfect?

To –kind of– answer these questions we have an artist who portrayed figures as pure manifestations of human beauty. These figures don’t follow pre-established patterns of perfection, but are perfect in their own way thanks to the freedom and lack of labels they embody. This prodigious artist was Egon Schiele.



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Through his representations of men and women, he portrayed the purity of love without rules or labels. He believed love wasn’t a matter of imposed conventions, or even gender based. Schiele understood it as the manifestation of purity between beings. Through his paintings, he creates a bond with the spectator to show him that absolute beauty, and therefore, true love, is beyond the labels and restraints we endure every day.

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Finding love has become a quest to find someone who can complement us. Going back to the mythical image of Rebis is finding those elements we’d lost and can fulfill us to become complete beings, ergo perfect creatures. Then, perfection doesn’t lie on looking like superior beings, but in complementing ourselves with the presence of other people. Schiele’s paintings are proof that perfection can be found everywhere, even in contorted figures far from cultural standards. 


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The sensuality portrayed in Schiele’s strokes can make us feel attracted to his canvases, no matter the character’s identity. In fact, there are cases in which titles are the only ones explaining who these figures are, yet sometimes they don’t explain anything at all. If we compare his Portrait of a Woman from 1912 and many of his self-portraits, we can see they even share some physical features.

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Egon Schiele’s art transports this idea of neutral identity –if we were to call it that way– to everyday life. His characters can be our guides to understanding our world without labels and pre-established norms of beauty. Without prejudices, we can really reach the perfection we’ve always craved.


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Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards


Sources:
Carla Carmona Escalera: El cuerpo femenino en las obras de Egon Schiele y de Gustav Klimnt.

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