Tag Archives: Spanish Flu

Death And The Tote Bags

22 Dec

 

spare egon mask

Husb and I went to the National Gallery in London a couple of days ago mainly to see the exhibition, ‘Facing The Modern, The Portrait In Vienna 1900‘. It’s a fabulous show with paintings, sculptures and drawings from Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka and many others. One of the rooms featured portraits of the dead and dying, which were popular at the time, including the moving drawing of Edith Schiele by her husband just hours before her untimely death from Spanish Flu. He died three days later. Opposite her portrait is a glass case with the death masks of the artists Schiele and Klimt, composer Mahler and the architect Albert Loos. I stopped and drew Egon’s mask. His face seems small, peaceful, with very fine, delicate features. I was very moved by the art in this room; we rarely see such representations of death in our modern society. The only downside to the exhibition are the canvas tote bags in the National Gallery shop which are printed with the deathbed portrait of Edith Schiele. I thought it in poor taste, but maybe I’m being over-sensitive.

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