The Guardian report on the Royal Academy's new show “Klimt-Schiele” subscribes to the museum's premise for pairing early modernists [VIDEO] Gustave Klimt and Egon Schiele: “Both reveled in the immediacy of drawing.” But the British daily saw another commonality - “Death steals like a cold breath through the Royal Academy’s centennial commemoration of their art” - which does not fit the pictures that Klimt drew.

Things that look alike are not always the same

There are several commonalities between these two artists: they both came from Austria; they both died in the same year (although Klimt was 28 years younger).

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and their figure art looks similarly undernourished. But the notion that each focused on mortality is not borne out by their work. While the fragility of life can readily be seen in “the emaciated bodies of Schiele's teenage prostitutes,” as The Guardian put it, Klimpt's drawings of females are not as described - “syphilitic femme fatales.” The Telegraph more accurately characterized Klimt's figure art for a Tate Liverpool show in 2008 as “golden visions of the female form.” His nudes are about pleasure, not pain.

When imagery of bared bodies has nothing to do with anatomy

The Guardian is spot on, later in its report, noting that while “Schiele takes the contours and makes them harsh, sharp and angular, Klimt's depicts “sumptuous line.” Even with a casual glance at their work, you can see that Schiele was the one with death on his mind and Klimt had an eye for the sensuous. So while their drawings of figures link them, how they pictured them does not. As if to accentuate angst, Schiele depicted figures not only extra thin but also extra angular. And the way he posed them suggests despondency. With such disquiet in his work, it’s not surprising to read a call for help in a letter to a friend in “Egon Schiele's Portrait” by Alessandra Comini: “I have headaches, I am chained.. Will no one help me?...

I can't buy a single canvass. I want to paint but have no colors... I am sick...” Is that why he made so many drawings?

Dressing up undressed women

Klimt, on the other hand, to make art that had little to do with sorrow and more to do with sex, as seen in his drawing of a woman masturbating for the 1907 edition of Dialogue of the Courtesan, by the ancient Greek Lucian of Samosata. But there was still more to his work than sensuality. There was a kind of sumptuousness - even decoration. When Klimt bared female flesh, he lavished it with embellished settings, as if to intensify the sensuality. I'm thinking of “Judith, his rendering of the biblical figure half-clothed and dissolved in a bejeweled -looking pattern.