If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:3:00

Video transcript

focus where Dan had been perhaps the first person to willfully distort destroy the human body which for thousands of years had been something to represent fully and completely and reverentially but to do that in sculpture meant to refer to the ancient Greek sculptures and their fragments Egon Schiele ax in 1910 does it in paint it's a remarkably radical image we're looking at the seated male nude a self-portrait by Egon Schiele from 1910 in the Leopold museum she was only 20 when he paints this it's a really large square canvas and he presents this figure himself his body with his feet cut off and his hands tightly wound stretched across diagonally on this empty white background so the hands are so well and as he said that you can't actually see them so he is simply his head his torso his limbs without the parts of the body that we grasp the world with he is literally floating unmoored the expressiveness of the body reminds me of Michelangelo the way that Michelangelo used the body to express emotion but instead of the musculature the heroism the way that Michelangelo would imbue a body with divinity through its power here we have a body that is virtually emaciated that has been attenuated so that it almost will stretch and break there is a delicacy and extensa tivity here look for instance at the hair on the legs what they can almost like the tendrils of an undersea creature feel the slightest wind feel the slightest pulse there is an intensified perception that exists here it's in part because the eyes are red the nipples are rather the genitals are red the navel is red all that also speaks to a kind of interior intensity so this is sexualized it's violent and he also seems to be nothing but a physical shell somehow is it odds with the intensity and the power of the emotional being within it's amazing to me the way that Sheila took himself so seriously as a subject for art I mean if you think about art history its subjects are religion the aristocracy princes kings and here at this moment at the end of the nineteenth century beginning of the 20th century this portrayal of subjectivity of this focus on the self of expressing the self and using radical formal means and the problem then that Sheila seems to have said for himself is how can I convey visually the external body as a means to understand the interior self