Rudolph Karl Alexander Schneider, commonly known as SASCHA SCHNEIDER was a German allegorical painter and sculptor born on this date (d: 1927). A piece of his work (“The Vision”) graces the banner on Gay Wisdom.
Schneider was born in Saint Petersburg in 1870. During his childhood, his family lived in Zürich, but following the death of his father, Schneider moved to Dresden, where in 1889 he became a student at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. In 1903, he met best-selling author Karl May, and subsequently became the cover illustrator of a number of May’s books including Winnetou, Old Surehand, Am Rio de la Plata. A year later in 1904, Schneider was appointed professor at the Großherzoglich-Sächsische Kunstschule Weimar.
During this period, Schneider lived with painter Hellmuth Jahn. Jahn began blackmailing Schneider by threatening to expose his homosexuality, which was punishable under §175 of the penal code. Schneider fled to Italy, where homosexuality was not criminalized at that time. In Italy, Schneider met painter Robert Spies, with whom he traveled through the Caucasus Mountains. He then traveled back to Germany, where he lived for six months in Leipzig before returning to Italy, where he resided in Florence.
When the First World War started, Schneider returned to Germany again, taking up residence in Hellerau (near Dresden). After 1918, he co-founded an institute called Kraft-Kunst for bodybuilding. Some of the models for his art trained here. Schneider’s painting Hypnosis inspired a key shot in the Robert Eggers’ 2019 film The Lighthouse.
Schneider, who was diabetic, suffered a seizure during a ship voyage in the vicinity of Swinemünde. As a result, he collapsed and died in 1927 in Swinemünde. He was buried in Loschwitz Cemetery, Germany.