Work of the Week | Maria Lassnig, Der Ritter (The Knight), 1991

22 March 2021

MariaLassnig, Der Ritter (The Knight), 1991
MariaLassnig, Der Ritter (The Knight), 1991

As our Instagram followers will know, every Monday we select a #WorkOfTheWeek and during this #WomensHistoryMonth we are looking at today's female history makers, alongside historical female artists. Head over to @zabludowicz_collection to catch up.

An artist like no other, Maria Lassnig is our #WorkOfTheWeek. This large-scale oil painting is a departure from her fleshy self-portraits she is best known for. Lassnig's sweeping vivid brushstrokes in 'Der Ritter (The Knight)' create a semi-abstract figure reminiscent of body armour with the noticeable absence of a wearer. Lassnig's 'body awareness' technique is used here in the context of her artistic comment on violence. From the 1960s conflict, fear and protection have informed her exploration into the fragility of human flesh. Armour takes on many guises, from military wear to ways we construct our identity - all intending to offer security.

In 1991, the year Lassnig painted Der Ritter (The Knight), she wrote in her diary: “War, as if it were here. It’s like a serialized novel in the media now. One eagerly awaits what comes next. Not so clear what to wish for whom. The feeling of tragedy and fear, after a few days almost gone: for on television one sees only machines and a seemingly cold-blooded-looking man. You don’t see the people blown to bits, the shelled, bloody body parts that are left.”

Want to know more about the trailblazing artist? Of course you do, listen to The Great Women Artists Podcast: Natalie Lettner on Maria Lassni‪g‬ here.

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