The Drawing Year at Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude

Jan. 2, 2015

A must-see selection of drawings by the great Austrian artist Egon Schiele is currently on show at The Courtauld Gallery and The Drawing Year were lucky enough to have early morning special access to the exhibition.

Egon SchieleEgon Schiele

Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude brings together a collection of the artist’s provocative and ground-breaking portraits which contributed to the development of modern art and have influenced the likes of Tracey Emin and Nancy Spero.

Raising the debate about the distinction between ‘nude’ and ‘naked’, Egon Schiele’s confrontational, expressive and sexually charged works challenged contemporary life room tradition and are as thought-provoking today as they were in the early twentieth century.

Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude is a rare opportunity to see Schiele's work exhibited in the UK, as the first exhibition of his work here in 25 years, with no works by the artist currently in our national collections. 

Today our current Drawing Year 2014-15 students were lucky enough to have an early morning private view of the exhibition, and below we interview them about the experience of drawing from Schiele's work, with varied and challenging responses. 

Egon Schiele

Drawing Year at Courtauld - Schiele

What was it like drawing from Schiele?

"A challenge. Unlike other ‘master’ drawings, in which age gives an indistinction to the line that allows for reinterpretation when drawing, Schiele’s lines are definite and their unbroken quality and firmness encourages that one tries to step into his shoes and make the lines as he would have made them." (Tim Patrick, Drawing Year 2014-15)

Drawing Year at Courtauld - Schiele

How does drawing from these nudes compare to drawing in the studio?

"They are more freeing, having already gone through a stage of representation, which means there is less pressure on you to faithfully represent the subject. They are exaggerated, cropped and composed. They are small and attacking, whereas the life room, when you look at it, sometimes feels vast and open." (Josie Deighton, Drawing Year 2014-15)

Drawing Year at Courtauld - Schiele

Which images were you particularly drawn to and why?

"I wouldn't say I really like Schiele's work in general, but the most interesting for me were the self portraits because they seemed to be the most telling pieces in gaining insight into his character and were perhaps also a little less polished or deliberate." (Anna Bergin, Drawing Year 2014-15)

Drawing Year at Courtauld - Schiele

What is your experience of drawing from art and why do you think it is important?

"Art is already a step removed from reality, so drawing from art is moving towards drawing from imagination. As such there is a freedom to steal, exaggerate and create."  (Josie Deighton, Drawing Year 2014-15)

"The 'Radical Nude' at the Courtauld Gallery was my first opportunity to draw directly from Schiele’s work and was utterly thrilling. The intensity in which Schiele observed his subjects can be experienced when attempting to follow his highly observed, unforgiving line with ones own." (Geraint Evans)

Drawing Year at Schiele

Sketchbook Drawings by Tim Patrick, Drawing Year 2014-15

Don't miss this rare and provocative exhibition! Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude is open until 18th January 2015. Click here for more details.