Idolino, 1911


Sascha Alexander Schneider (1870 - 1927) studied at the Academy in Dresden where he had his first exhibition in 1894. In 1904, he was called to enter an engagement with the Art School of Weimar. He was a close friend of Karl May and he created the cover paintings for the first edition of his complete works. In his homosexuality, he was very conscious and outspoken. For instance, he wrote the following words in a letter to Karl May in 1904: "My point of view is beyond the normal. My inborn nature cannot be fought or suppressed. And why should it be? In this sense, there is no sin for me. And did it prevent me from contemplating the grand and the noble? It is not salvation from this existance which is my burning desire but freedom in this world."

In 1906, he gave up his engagement in Weimar and went to Italy where he dedicated his work to the male body and gave up the "painting of ideas". In his book "My Creating And Picturing" from 1912, he wrote: "The more I entered the secrets of the human body, the more important did the joy in the physical become. Now, I want to give nothing else to others than that which speaks directly to the eye. It is solely the male body which interests me, i.e. the strength which I already admire in a boy as well. Strength is beauty for me, and my position is so radical that I consider a highly developed muscular system to be the representation of absolute beauty. The beauty of man is his force, and the strongest man is the most beautiful for me."

The rumours about his homosexuality led to the result that his works were rejected by the acquisition commissions of museums. His sculptures were labelled as "too erotic" or as "advertisement for sodomy". After his friends made this scandal publicly known with an article in the art magazine PAN, he was able to resume his work, creating a monumental version of one of his sculptures for the Berlin Stadium. Later, the Albertinum Dresden acquired the Idolino. In 1919, Schneider founded the Strength Art Institute in Dresden which was one of the first Bodybuilding studios in Germany.

Unto his death in 1927, he was always aspiring to realise his ideal of a masculine world of men and boys by means of his work.