At the heart of symbolism

A being under influence


Self-portrait at 29 (Detail)

Life, love and death

Edvard Munch (1863-1944), painter, lithographer, etcher and wood engraver belongs to the first Norwegian artist generation formed in the country and not in Germany or France. He studied at the School of Art and Handicraft in Oslo. Munch was heavily influenced by French art which, at the time, was banished in Norway. He made his first visit to Paris in 1885, where he was greatly impressed by the Impressionists, Symbolists and, above all, the work of Paul Gauguin.

Munch had a traumatic childhood and expressed his own neuroses in his paintings. Themes like jealousy, sickness and sexual desires came out again and again, reflecting extreme psychological states.

An exhibition of his work in 1892 in Berlin caused such a turmoil that it had to be closed. His most famous works were produced between 1892 and 1908 while he was living in Germany. The series “Frieze of life”, which he described as “a poem of life, love and death”, evokes the philosophy of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche as well as the aesthetic of Wagner. It took him over ten years to achieve it. The project was shown at the Berlin Secession in 1902. Munch had a deep influence on the development of the German art of the early 20th century and greatly contributed to the emergence of the Expressionist movement.

During this period, he executed several versions of his painting called The Scream, including lithographs. It is not only his most famous painting, but one of the most well known all other the world just as Mona Lisa. By the way, both paintings were stolen.

In 1908 he suffered from “a complete mental collapse” according to his own words and finally returned to Norway. He decided to recover from that mentally unstable state, knowing quite well that it was part of his inspiration. The anguished work left the canvas for a more balanced vision of nature in general and human nature in particular.

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