Project Kelly Marie Gardner Art History English Literature Essay

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The paintings I have chosen are 'passage' created by Jenny Saville in 2004 and 'Eros' created by Egon Schiele in 1911. 'Passage' was created in 2004, using oil colour, the painting is 336 x 290cm. Saville's painting is representing a body between genders and the 'Eros was created in 1911, using Gouache, watercolour and black crayon, the painting is 55.9 x 45.7cm. Schiele's paining represents himself masturbating in front of a mirror, I will begin to compare and contrast whether these two images were socially acceptable in the past and the present.

Both figures within the paintings are centred; they directly engage the viewer and are dominant subjects. As they are dominant they become over powering to the viewer, creating a sense of pride and authority within both paintings. As you can see both subjects eyes have been painted as though they are glaring straight ahead, by positioning themselves within this glare that is direct, it gives an intense sense of control and power to the artist and their subjects. However if you consider scale within both of these paintings you can see there is more of an over whelming affect within Saville's painting as it is 336 by 290cm creating a larger than life painting of a naked transgender, who seems to be very comfortable and proud to be represented within the painting, within Saville's painting I feel she is trying to prove something that is now socially acceptable, to provide evidence that transgender, transsexuals and transvestites are no different to the population of our present society. Whereas Schiele's paining is minute in comparison to Saville's only scaling at 55.9 x 45.7cm. This gives the impression that Schiele's self portrait of himself masturbating is somewhat unacceptable and crude to the viewing public within the present time of this painting being created.

In Saville's work she communicates a sense of pride within the bigger women. The natural and realistic colour pallet that Saville has used reflects truth and honesty within her work, however the use of blues, violets and greens portray a sense of sadness, and the cool colours demonstrate this emotion. Saville has used a realistic colour pallet; this makes the viewer aware of the skin being bruised and tender, which in this painting may be suggestive of plastic surgery. Within the book 'Jenny Saville, edited By Christopher Green, Saville says that "With the transvestite I was searching for a body that was between genders I [1] " " The transvestite I worked with has a natural penis and false silicone breasts" [2] I find that the way in which the transgender is positioned shows that they are proud of their body, their shoulders are drawn back pushing their torso forward, creating a very confrontational posture along with the positioning of their legs creating a sense of confidence within their sexuality. However within Schiele's self portrait he uses, warm colours such as browns oranges and yellows these colours seem more optimistic, showing Schiele is proud and confident while creating these paintings of him masturbating but when you look at Schiele's posture his shoulders seem to be slightly caving inwards, creating a sense that he either believes it to be socially unacceptable creating a cowardly emotion that has been portrayed in his figure and posture or a fragility within his personality and self confidence. It makes wonder whether Schiele felt guilty about his activity? The use of his colours seems dirty within Schiele's drawing linking to the activity which is being transferred to the painting it also creates a sense of poverty. Within Schiele's painting of 'Eros' his penis seems to be larger than life in comparison to his hands and arms. Several of Schiele's self-portraits, frequently adopt discomforted sexual postures, which suggests a deep nervousness.

The model that Saville has used is between genders which thirty or forty years ago this body couldn't have existed, same as if Schiele was still present I doubt he could present his portrait within a public gallery as I feel the painting is to crude and suggestive of perversion which now is socially unacceptable, however within the early 1900's Schiele's self portraits would have been controversial to the viewing public.

As both paintings have very similar compositions I feel they both show a confrontational attitude to the viewers of these paintings. Both paintings are full of emotion, within Schiele's self portrait I feel he is trying to gain a manly posture as if he is trying to gain his own masculine identity, by painting himself fondling with his erect penis which again is large in comparison to his hand and forearm. Many of Schiele's painting portray sexual postures and nude models, including himself. I feel that by Schiele masturbation and touching his genitals within this certain image he is trying to regain respect for himself, to try and understand his sexuality and to achieve a sense of his true identity. As the painting gives of a sense of identity I feel that the portrait of himself was for his own personal recognition however shortly after Schiele had produce these portraits Schiele was arrested and jailed for exhibiting a drawing found erotic and in view of young children, he was imprisoned for three days and more than a hundred drawings which were considered pornographic were seized by the police. "As his prison diary reveals, absolutely no comprehension of the moralistic outrage expressed by the court at his nude drawings" [3] I feel that this shows the controversy of Schiele's career how he became acceptable to socially unacceptable. Even though Schiele's works were probably used for pornography collectors and his own personal use or pleasure it shows that Schiele didn't really have much self respect. During the time of the self portraits Schiele wrote a small description of his inner state, from the book Egon Schiele's self portraits part of the description quotes "An eternal dreaming full of the sweetest abundance of life-restless, with frightened pains inside the soul. It blazes, burns waxes toward battle-spasm in the heart. Poised. And madly excited with aroused lust". [4] From this small description you can see that it has influence Schiele to name his painting 'Eros' as Eros in Greek mythology, was the primordial god of sexual love and beauty. The term Erotic was also derived from the word Eros. This gave me the impression that Schiele found his portraits socially acceptable, there seems to be a physical likeness and inner feelings shown within his portraits and the title of his painting. If in today society Schiele had presented 'Eros' he would have been discriminated against and imprisoned for a lot longer than three whole days for indecent and pornographic drawings of young girls.

Jenny Saville's paintings main subjects are usually female nudes, she also uses herself within her paintings. Saville paints from photographs, it is said that Saville "Is exploring what it means to be human today" [5] this shows that Saville is creating a painting of a nude that has developed throughout the years to be socially acceptable. As Saville creates large paintings that are normally larger than life they convey a gripping sense of emotion and energy within them, they portray how humans can so easily in this present day remodel and reshape their own bodies to suite that they feel and want to portray. "People try to reshape their bodies because they resist the shapes their bodies have been given" [6] this links in to the painting that Schiele has created 'Eros' as they both work with the subject of self realization and how socially unacceptable you could be in the present society when you differ from the majority of the population. In Saville's painting she depicts and tears apart self reorganization, self indulgence and self image in a pact to understand those of humans who have no trace or meaning within their bodies until there is change. As there is change within the body it shows that the reconstruction of the body which portrays a sense of someone being unhappy with their personal appearance, usually reflecting upon their sexuality. This makes you question how acceptable and open sexuality at this present moment as thirty or forty years ago this body would not have existed. Reconstruction takes place when someone has undertaken a surgical procedure, making Saville's painting link to people who may be a trauma victim, however the wounds of a transgender would be self inflicted creating a sense of misunderstanding as to why they want change. "Saville's paintings can be seen as an attempt to explore the possibilities of a situation in which the absence of meaning is taken as given" [7] I feel that Saville's work is the proof that there is no hidden reality or objective in the work she creates, it is observed rather abstracted within the constraints of stereo typical perfection of the flesh. It reflects honesty and truth and creates a power of dominance to show what is now socially acceptable.

Both artists have used the same techniques and styles within their paintings, both subjects are centred within the painting, either partly or fully nude exposing themselves and are both painted in the same trend. I find that both paintings are engaging the viewer in their posture and exposure, portraying themselves to be dominant and overpowering to the viewing eye, they both seem to be enjoying exposing themselves and show no remorse for exposing themselves to the public. It seems to give them as an artist an intense sense of control as they are drawing the viewing public towards their paintings. This for me shows that in present society of the paintings being created it was seen as acceptable, even though Schiele was imprisoned however he was only imprisoned for three days, making his work seem more controversial than acceptable. As Saville's painting is something of change, something that is surgical and is happening all over the world, the reconstruction of one's body is now acceptable, for Saville to paint what she now see's within today's society shows that she is being truthful and honest and representing someone that is no different to the rest of us, creating an honest representation of someone who maybe did not feel acceptable as who they were and chose to reconstruct their body to make themselves feel more socially acceptable within the present society, even though thirty or forty years ago Saville's painting would not have been acceptable it was still more acceptable than what Schiele's painting 'Eros' is and ever will be as Schiele's nude painting of himself is very controversial as within both present societies it would not have been acceptable, as it is seen as something that is classed indecent exposure.

As for social acceptance I feel it stops people from truly being themselves, we as people seem to follow in a trend, it is the ability to accept those of difference, and a term used that shows how we tolerate the diversity and different identities of people today in the present society.

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