An interesting insight into the artist behind The Scream and his lifelong struggles with love, death and loneliness.
Before visiting the current exhibition at Albertina in Vienna, like most people, I mainly knew Edvard Munch for his artwork The Scream. In addition to famous works like The Scream and Madonna, the exhibition comprised of about 100 artworks has a special focus on lithographs, edgings and woodcuts – techniques of which Munch is one of the main representatives of the 20th century.
Personally, I was astonished about the artists obsession about death and loneliness, because of his mother’s and sister’s deaths due to tuberculosis and also due to himself being ill and kept out of school for very long periods. In artworks like The Sick Child I, it becomes very clear how much time he dedicated to these topics.
Even in his self portrait, the link to death becomes very obvious due to the skeleton arm at the bottom of the paining.
The visitor is also taken to Munch’s stay in Berlin with paintings of shows and varieté dancers and when Munch dedicated himself to the motif of jealousy. Another obsession, which I consider particularly interesting, was his view of women and his struggle of seeing them in a sexual way, at the same time blaming them as the reason behind the problems happening to men.
I was particularly interested in the painting Jealousy II, giving an insight into this strange attitude towards women. According to the auido guide, Jealousy II may be linked to Dangy Juell, the wife of a Polish writer, who also was Munch’s friend. Munch was attracted to the beautiful Dangy and his jealousy in this triangle situation is expressed in the painting. However, he makes a clear reference to the woman, describing her gaze as ‘enquiring, interested, hateful and full of love‘ (Source: http://gundersencollection.com/index.php/gundersen-collection-munch-articles/17-munch-jealousy-2). Therefore, it is not his fault that he’s attracted to her, his forbidden attraction is merely caused by her being and behaviour.
In general, I thought the exhibition was very interesting and definitely worth visiting. You will get to know the motives of this famous artists. I have to say though, that it can also be quite depressing to hear about his life being dominated by illnesses, jealousy, loneliness and death.
The exhibition is open until January 24th, 2016.
(Picture Source: Albertina Vienna)