Although this painting by Austrian expressionist painter, Oskar Kokoschka,
is named 'two nudes(lovers)',
it is filled with sadness and melancholy.
At first glance, it seems that man and woman are
dancing together, holding each other, but woman is
gazing into space with a vacant look as if she doesn't
notice his existence at all and one of man's eye is looking
to woman and another eye is looking to a viewer
with a sad face. We don't know what woman is gazing at all.
It is as if man is trying to keep woman from leaving.
It's lovers who are going into completely different directions. And man's sorrowful face and woman's expressionless cold face are very contrastive.
This painting is painted as self-portrait, but both of two
persons are very iconic and far from realistic depiction.
The background is also abstract with strong brushstrokes
in blue-gray color, it looks like brushstrokes form flower-
shape around two persons, but flowers are torn off and
ripped off. I feel that there is a contradiction of movement within this painting. By strong and violent brushstrokes around two persons, shaking and unstable feelings are expressed. On the other hand, these two persons are painted in a way of motionless like a very cold stone or sculpture.
In the distorted background, woman is taking a step forward. Her body, from her foot to her head, is painted almost in a straight line and in a center line. So focal point is not a man, but rather a woman, who is looking toward completely different direction from him.
In1913 that he painted this painting, he was in a romantic relationship with Alma Mahler,
who was a widow of the great Austrian composer Gustav Mahler. But their relationship
went worse and they were losing each other.
This painting is expressing his anxiety and bewilderness for his love, which lost its way.
After I considered this painting and knew the history, my heart ached with full of sadness...