Sunday, September 10, 2006

Fingers contrived

One of the most original contributions to the visual arts came from Schiele: his representation of hands. Starting with his boney, jagged fingers in the photos taken by his friend Josef Trcka (see my profile picture on the right) to the arthritic claws of his later paintings. Schiele saw something frail yet predatory about human hands: a fragile interconnection of bones that lok snappable but threatening, which could break like a twig or strangle in an instant. While El Greco may have started this in the 16th century, Schiele has been the only artist to see in hands the story of a painting itself, the human condition.


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