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Egon Schiele

Cardinal and Nun


Admire without imitating

In 1907, the future painter Egon Schiele, Austrian then aged 17, met his idol Gustav Klimt,  30 years his senior. Recognized artist and member  founder of the movement

avant- garde baptized "Secession Vienne"

noise", Klimt quickly became the master

- both artistic and spiritual - from Schiele:

the young man walks in the footsteps of

his friend and mentor, in whom he sees "an artist

of unparalleled perfection".


Schiele willingly claimed this filia-

tion. But if many of his works

realize the influence of  master,

he nevertheless took care to develop a personal style, of a striking singularity, drawing inspiration from the work of Klimt without scrupulously imitating him. the

best example of this posture - between admiration and emancipation - is provided by his canvas of 1912

Cardinal and Nun . While explicitly citing one of

            masterpieces of Klimt, the Kiss , Schiele

            distances itself from it by upsetting it radically-

            is lying  meaning . While the work of Klimt,

            depicting a couple kneeling and embracing

            in a golden decor, was an ode to the

            purity of love, that of Schiele, which

            represents the forbidden antics of a nun

            and a cardinal exactly in the same

            position, wants to be resolutely sulphurous.

            Faithful to his taste for provocation and to                 his  anti -clerical opinions, Schiele diverts the exalted work  of his mentor to deliver a charge against Catholic dogma.

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss , 190 9

What we can take away:

Learning from our elders, masters or mentors does not mean aping their ways of working or thinking. On the contrary, it is more constructive to distance ourselves from them by associating their lessons with our aspirations.  and personal intuitions. It is in this appropriation, both free and  respectful, that lies the purpose of the pedagogical approach.

Related theme: Creativity
Related topic: Cooperation
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