Kirchner Self Portrait


Painted in 1915, the self portrait of Kirchner as a soldier is a documentation of his fear of war, and the reactions of the people suffered all sorts of mental and physical damage from it.  This piece is a key example of psychological drama in the way Kirchner adds so many uncomfortable subjects  Kirchner had once been enrolled to serve as a driver in the artillery, but would seen be deemed unfit and was dismissed.  He was reluctant at all to even become a soldier and tried to avoid duty through self induced psychosis, accompanied with the drug and alcohol use he had.  This painting he made is a response of how the fear of the effects of war he saw affected him as not just an artist, but as a human being

The picture shows a man dressed up in a military uniform standing in a studio smoking a cigarette.  He has a bloody stump for an arm, which seems to have been clearly slashed off by a knife. This was meant to serve as a representation of the trauma that he came to experience in the war.  This symbolizes not only his trauma that he experience d in war, but also the anxiety of his loss of manhood.  Much like how Van Gogh had a self portrait with a self inflicted wound  In the background of him is a nude model, who is suppose to bear the resemblance to his lover at that period of time Erna Schilling.  This piece is meant to be anti-war and deter people from endorsing war itself.  Kirchner tries to convey to the viewer that there are grotesque horrors of war that we for the most part don’t have to see, and how this is just a small glance in to them. Kirchner’s failing mental ability had also played a part in his work and contributed to the raw details and emotions he evoked in his pieces


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