Saturday, March 3, 2012

Munch, Edvard

Oil on canvas
91 x 109 cm
The Munch Museum, Norway

One of the most sensational and shocking images in European art. A woman with long red hair bends over a man. Love and Pain, which was the first title of the motif, indicates an ambition to express complex feelings. This painting caused a sensation when it was unveiled, touching on turn-of-the-century fears about women's liberation. Some critics were outraged by its perverse, almost sado-masochistic depiction of passion. Munch always insisted it was nothing more than "just a woman kissing a man on the neck".

Edvard Munch (1863 - 1944), Norway's most popular artist, is looked upon as one of the most significant influences on the development of German and Central European expressionism. Munch's convulsed and tortuous art was formed by the misery and conflicts of his time, and, even more important, by his own unhappy life. Childhood tragedy, intense and dramatic love affairs, alcoholism, and ceaseless traveling are reflected in his works. Munch's pictures show his social awareness and his tendency to express many of the basic fears and anxieties of mankind.

Munch died in his house near Oslo on January 23, 1944, about a month after his 80th birthday.