Egon Schiele, Crescent of Houses ll ("Island Town") © Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 456

Egon Schiele, Crescent of Houses II (Island Town)

1915

Viewed from the castle hill at Krumau – today’s Český Krumlov – this curved cluster of houses can be precisely identified. To make them stand out clearly, the painter omitted the houses in the background and the bridge and opposite bank with St Jodocus’s Church. His concern was not to represent the topography, but to draw, with a cubist touch, a maze-like network of angular lines whose compositional center is located on the island-like peninsula. With their different components of façades, roofs, and chimneys, the buildings have the appearance of solid geometry. Green and lilac bands follow the exterior of the houses in tune to themselves and each other, like voices in a fugue. The sense of movement in this crescent is enhanced by the row of autumnal trees. Like the linear boundaries between land and dark water, all of the trees and structures of the land have been composed into a bow shape, thereby adding to the spatial tug of the block of buildings.

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