A new view of the old masters – by Erhard Schiel
What is the attraction of the Old Masters? Why do generations of artists and art historians deal with the works of Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Dürer, Caravaggio, Velasquez to name but a few? Because these works still have something to say to us even after centuries, because they are mirror images of their time and, beyond that, timelessly beautiful, because the art of drawing, painting and etching is based on a basic knowledge that is thousands of years old, because this knowledge has to be learned and perfected into a skill. Craftsmanship can be learned to a certain degree, then it pairs with genius and talent and allows the master to become the great artist.
The confrontation with the Old Masters runs like a red ribbon through the work of the artist Erhard Schiel. As an etcher and engraver, he had a dialogue with Dürer, immersed himself in his works in order to find a new path for himself. It is similar with oil painting, in which Jan Vermeer van Delft has achieved a unique mastery. At the latest since Tracy Chevalier’s novel “Girl with the Pearl Earring” was brilliantly filmed, even the uninterested in art knows the wonderful portrait of a girl.
This portrait is mysterious, raises questions and fascinates by Vermeer’s dense colouring. Every shadow, every nuance, the heaviness of the texture, the slowness, the stillness of Vermeer’s pictures are magical and tangible.
Schiel has approached the Old Masters in his own way, paying homage to their beauty and creating something new in the context of our time. What the artist Schiel does with the guidelines, how he approaches, transforms, interprets and finally detaches himself in order to create something very own – is shown in the new cycle of paintings.
Dr. Constanze Wilken