Edvard Munch

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Edvard Munch in 1921
The Dance of Life, Munch 1899/1900

Edvard Munch (12 December 1863 – 23 January 1944) was a Norwegian painter and print-maker. He was born in Adalsbruk. He was an expressionist. He is well known for his treatment of emotion such as fear. His way of seeing things had a large influence on the expressionism of the 20th century. People saw this treatment as being intense.

Edvard Munch was an expressionist who painted quite a few famous paintings.

While he was alive, he had success as a painter: He became famous outside Norway, and his paintings got high prices, and the National Gallery (Norway) used much[1] money to buy paintings by Munch; and he did the murals in the aula (or main room) of Norway's (then) only university.

Early life and education[change | change source]

He had four brothers and sisters. He had followed his mother and sister by being the best artists in their family. While Edvard was still young, his mother and one of his sisters died. But it was when he was thirteen that he really came to like art. The first paintings he did were simple objects like medicine bottles and other objects. Later on, he drew oil paintings.

He went to technical college in 1879 where he learnt how to draw paintings with perspective. However in 1880, the following year he left the school to become a painter.

He went to the Royal School of Art and Design. This is where he learnt sculpturing and naturalistic painting. This is where he drew his first important portrait of himself and his father.

Paintings[change | change source]

The Scream (1893; originally called Despair). This is Munch's best-known painting, and is one of the best known images in the world. It is one of the pieces in a series titled The Frieze of Life. In the series Munch explored the themes of life, love, fear, death and melancholy. As with many of his works, he made several versions of the painting. One version was stolen from the Munch-museum in Oslo, Norway, on 22 August 2004, but on 31 August 2006 Norwegian police found it together with another picture that was stolen at the same time, Madonna.

The Frieze of Life themes come back throughout Munch's work. These themes can be seen in paintings such as The Sick Child (1886, portrait of his deceased sister Sophie), (1893–1894), Ashes (1894), and The Bridge. The last-named shows limp figures. Those figures have faces with no features, or they have no faces at all. Threatening shapes of heavy trees and houses are above the figures. Munch portrayed women either as frail, innocent sufferers or as lurid, life-devouring vampires. Munch analysts say this reflects his sexual anxieties.


The painting entitled Life by Edvard Munch at the Rådhuset (Oslo City Hall) in Oslo. The room is called The Munch room


  • 1885-86: The Sick Child
  • 1892: Evening on Karl Johan
  • 1893: The Scream
  • 1894: Ashes
  • 1894–1895: Madonna
  • 1895: Puberty
  • 1895: Self-Portrait with Burning Cigarette
  • 1895: Death in the Sickroom
  • 1899–1900: The Dance of Life
  • 1899–1900: The Dead Mother
  • 1903: Village in Moonlight
  • 1940–1942: Self Portrait: Between Clock and Bed

Health and death[change | change source]

Munch was ill very often. Many scientists think that he suffered from bipolar disorder (manic depression). He died at his house in Oslo.

Selected works[change | change source]

Nudes[change | change source]

Self-portraits[change | change source]

Photographs[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]

Munch and bipolar disorder:

  • Gro Finne. "Det overvurderte 'geniet' ". 19 August 2017. Klassekampen. page 49. "Selvfølgelig var det strid om hans banebrytende verk, men han oppnådde internasjonal berømmelse og nasjonal anerkjennelse i sin samtid ved store innkjøp til Najsonalgalleriet, høye priser og utsmykningen av Universitetets aula."