At the exhibition “Lovis Corinth. Lust for Life” within the framework of the Hermitage Days 2021 project, for the first time, a painting from the collection of the Russian Art Center participated. This is the work of Lovis Corinth "Self-portrait in armor" (1911).
Corinth justified his initial motivation to become an artist with the desire to paint historical paintings, in which the costumes made a special impression on him. That is why knightly armor for the master is much more than just props. Rather, it is part of the national history, the self-affirmation of the German art school and separatism from French art.
In his self-portrait, the painter in a helmet and armor is depicted up to his chest. The battle has just ended: the visor of the helmet is raised, burning eyes shine, and the warrior himself is exhausted, but not defeated. The artist demonstrates his privileged position by turning his head and posture. He does not carry any weapons, the knight's sword or spear is missing, instead of them behind the flag. Corinth, as it were, "demonstrates his personal triumph by portraying himself and acknowledging an unlimited leadership role."
The period of creation of the picture is one of the most fruitful for the master. He actively lectures, his works are shown at exhibitions in Berlin, Leipzig, Düsseldorf. A year earlier, the painter donated his triptych "Golgotha" to his native city of Tapiau (now Gvardeysk) and plans to perform in Königsberg. In addition, at the beginning of 1911, he was elected chairman of the Berlin Secession. This event is a kind of victory in the endless intrigues that were raging in artistic circles at that time.