Death and the Maiden. From Schubert to Schiele

“I feel myself the most unhappy and wretched man in the world,” confided Austrian composer Franz Schubert to his friend, artist Leopold Kupelwieser, in a letter dated March 31, 1824, as he was struggling with poor health, financial woes and lack of recognition. “Think of a man whose health can never be restored, and who…

Max Kurzweil – Lady in Yellow Dress (1899)

Max Kurzweil was miserable. The Austrian artist had spent his life vacillating between passion and depression, excess and withdrawal. Like Gustave Caillebotte he was stuck between the conservatism of his bourgeois upbringing and the changing tides in art. But Kurzweil couldn’t feel too sorry for himself, for his playground was bohemian Vienna at the turn…

Arnold Böcklin – The Isle of the Dead III (1883)

At the beginning of the 20th century you could find a reproduction of The Isle of the Dead in almost every middle class household in Germany. Sigmund Freud certainly had one at his office. Even the Russians weren’t immune. Lenin was fascinated by it. After seeing a black-and-white reproduction of the artwork, Sergei Rachmaninoff composed…

William Kurelek – The Maze (1953)

What’s it like inside the mind of a depressed person? You might expect nothing. Flatness. Hollowness. The most hopeless numbness. If that’s the case, buckle up! William Kurelek is going to take us for a ride. This Canadian artist was 26 years old when he painted The Maze, a fascinating, multilayered journey through one man’s…