Egon Schiele, Austrian, 1890–1928
Crucifixion with Darkened Sun, 1907
Oil on canvas
The twisted bodies and expressive lines that characterize Schiele's paintings placed him at the forefront of the Expressionist movement. He painted Crucifixion when he was only seventeen years old, revealing his spiritual preoccupations from an early age. Although the focus of this painting is the human face and body, the darkening sky alludes to an eclipse. At this time the young artist was studying at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna and possibly was looking at the many crucifixion scenes from the history of art that feature symbolic eclipses. The accuracy of the eclipse was not as important to Schiele as the symbolism and emotion that the event evoked.