The painting Transfiguration
, which Egon Schiele (1890–1918) also titled The Blind
, was created in the first half of 1915. In August of that same year it was first exhibited at Guido Arnot’s gallery on Vienna’s Kärntnerring; however, like the 1912 painting Hermits
, another large-scale work, it remained unsold until Schiele’s premature death. In a double self-portrait that covers the full height of the large-scale canvas, we encounter the artist in a short, monk-like habit, continuing a motif familiar from Schiele’s earlier self-depictions. The two figures are positioned in front of the flat background of a landscape, symbolized by colorful flowers and tufts of grass, which indicates a horizon just below the upper edge of the painting. Through partially unbroken lines, the parceled ground develops larger areas which mediate on a formal level between the patchwork structure of the ground and the closed body shapes of the double self-portrait.
While the lower figure is still touching the ground with its feet and is turned towards the observers with ostentatiously opened eyes, the upper figure seems to have lost all contact to worldly matters and to already have crossed over to the other side. The red eyelids stretch over the refracting eyes; hollow features and fingertips limply brushing against each other speak of parting and death. With this painting, Schiele achieved one of his most enigmatic and ambiguous self-stagings – shortly before his wedding to Edith Harms and his entry into military service.