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…

Julio Romero de Torres – Mystical and Profane Love (1908)

Part of the reason why art can often be so intimidating is the constant name-dropping and the unrelenting attempts to place each and every artwork within a given temporal, spatial and cultural framework. People should be able to enjoy art without thinking of the movement it belongs to, the various influences exerted over the artist…

Henri Matisse – The Conversation (1908 – 1912)

“I love you dearly, mademoiselle, but I shall always love painting more”, Henri Matisse reportedly told his future wife, Amélie Parayre, soon after they met. The warning was true and it came to define the couple’s four-decade long marriage. It’s hard to tell how much love there was between them or if pragmatism ruled them…

Gabriele Münter – Boating (1910)

Ahh, the quintessential love story: Girl meets boy. Boy is married to his cousin. Girl wants boy to divorce and marry her. Boy doesn’t. Wait, wait, wait. Let’s rewind. Gabriele Münter met Wassily Kandinsky in 1902. Back then, she was this driven 25 year old art student, financially independent, having just inherited a large amount…

Ismael Nery – Desire for Love (1932)

“In the first place, let me treat of the nature of man and what has happened to it; for the original human nature was not like the present, but different”, says Aristophanes, the Greek playwright, at the beginning of his speech in Plato’s Symposium. “The sexes were not two as they are now, but originally…

Edvard Munch – Melancholy (1894 – 1896)

Best known for his widely-reproduced painting The Scream, no one immortalized the anxiety of modern life better than the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Munch’s works belong to Symbolism, an art movement that emphasized the depiction of the tangible world through the lens of subjectivity and emotions. Strongly believing that humans were powerless in the face…