A knight errant (Self-portrait)

Oskar Kokoschka • Painting, 1915, 180×89.5 cm
About the artwork
This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Landscape, Portrait
Style of art: Expressionism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1915
Size: 180×89.5 cm
Artwork in selections: 22 selections

Description of the artwork «A knight errant (Self-portrait)»

This self-portrait Oskar Kokoschka wrote in his most difficult times, dark and hopeless. After a long and painful parting with his beloved Alma Mahler, after the war and wounded, after the official conclusion of doctors: mentally unstable.

Medieval armor for themselves Kokoschka wearing no accident – once upon a time he compared magic the passion of love that bound him and Alma, with the stories of medieval heroes and his most famous painting, dedicated to Alma first called "Tristan and Isolde". And now the story ends, Tristan dies. One arm of a wounded medieval knight Oskar Kokoschka extends to the sky, the other trying in vain to find the ground and grab her. This image of inexpressible pain, for which little of any of the characters, which requires a whole Arsenal of allusions and comparisons.

The letters "ES" soaring in the sky, critics decipher how the cry "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani" ("my God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?"), with which Jesus spoke to God the father before his death on the cross. Little, little, even this is not enough. In disturbing the skies over the medieval knight hovers a winged man who is also strangely similar to the artist himself. The death of Lee, Lee the soul of the dying knight is not so important, important is the feeling of doom. Finally, another figure – the Sphinx with the face of a woman, and a definite female. It is even more cruel than the ancient Sphinx, she was tormented by Kokoschka questions and slowly killed for wrong answers. Is Alma Mahler. If you look at portraits of Alma that were written during this whirlwind romance, the similarity does not cause doubts.

None of the painters who in those years in Vienna, may not be the Kokoschka the company in the manner of writing, composition and colors. His nervous, desperate strokes, his troubled song – not part of a tradition or artistic revolution, it is irrelevant and is not like the decorative Klimt or causing sensuality Schiele. This artistic method born the internal pain of the artist.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova