This expressive painting marks the mood of Schiele when he is on the verge of conscription for the First World War. The content found here suggests a certainty of death, if not in the war then at some point after.
There is a sadness and loneliness to this and many other paintings from Schiele at around this time, but his work after getting married would become less manic and depressive.
This route to relative positivity can be tracked down in many artist's careers, a new direction for Van Gogh, for example, being inspired by the colours of Southern France.
There are stylistic and content elements here which link directly to the work of his mentor, Gustav Klimt. That respected Austrian produced related titles such as Death and Life.
The embrace found here does not symbolise comfort or security, or even the romance found with Klimt's The Kiss. Instead it represents more of an impending, unavoidable scenario of death.