Πέμπτη, 26 Ιανουαρίου 2012

Edvard Munch's dark and macabre works

Kiss of Death

Edvard Munch (1863–1944) was a Norwegian Symbolist painter, printmaker and an important forerunner of expressionist art. His works express deep emotions, of love, fear, anxiety, death. Munch was an expressive painter and was not primarily interested in literal renderings of what he had seen.

The Scream
In a page in his diary, Munch described his inspiration for the image thus:
I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

It has been suggested that the proximity of both a slaughterhouse and a madhouse to the site depicted in the painting may have offered some inspiration of the red background. At the time of painting the work, Munch's manic depressive sister Laura Catherine was interned in the mental hospital at the foot of Ekeberg. In 1978, the Munch scholar Robert Rosenblum suggested that the strange, sexless creature in the foreground of the painting was probably inspired by a Peruvian mummy, which Munch could have seen at the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris. This mummy, which was crouching in a fetal position with its hands alongside its face, also struck the imagination of Munch's friend Paul Gauguin: it stood model for the central figure in some of his paintings. Recently, an Italian anthropologist speculated that Munch might have seen a mummy in Florence's Museum of Natural History which bears an even more striking resemblance to the painting. The environment of The Scream is often compared to that which an individual suffering from depersonalization disorder experiences, such a feeling of distortion of the environment and one's self. Indeed, the deranged person feels all the world trembling, in contrast to the people behind who enjoy cool and serene the view and the sunset

Madonna
Although it is a highly unusual representation, nevertheless, this painting is of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Until the 20th century Mary was usually represented in high art as a chaste, mature woman. True to the Norwegian cultural beliefs and way of life, the painting is a strong dose of conceivable realism. Sigrun Rafter, an art historian at the Oslo National Gallery suggests that Munch intended to represent Mary in the life-making act of intercourse, with the sanctity and sensuality of the union captured by Munch. The usual golden halo of Mary has been replaced with a red halo symbolizing the love and pain duality. The viewer's viewpoint is that of the man who is making love with her. Even in this unusual pose, she embodies some of the key elements of canonical representations of the Virgin: she has a quietness and a calm confidence about her. Her eyes are closed, expressing modesty, but she is simultaneously lit from above; her body is seen, in fact, twisting toward the light so as to catch more of it, even while she does not face it with her eyes. These elements suggest aspects of conventional representations of the Annunciation.

"Vampire" or "Love and pain"?
The above painting is famous because of a misinterpretation by an art critic who thought that woman don't consoling her mourning lover, relieving his pain, but is a female vampire that sucks blood from her male victim. Then this painting became more famous with the wrong title “Vampire” than the original by the painter “Love and Pain”. But knowing about an artist’s unsuccessful romance with a woman, this painting can hold both interpretations, Love and Pain coexist in a relation and from Munch’s perspective this woman dominated his life, either as a lover or as a painful partner.

The Harpy


Melancholy


Ashes


Adam and Eve commiting the Sin


The Murder of Marat


By the Deathbed


Study of a Model
but it can be interpreted as
Woman and Death


Death and the Maiden



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