Friday, June 28, 2013

My Love Affair with Edvard Munch

It all started when I was a teenager.  My mother heard there was a new art show at the Smithsonian.  Edvard Munch.  And she took me to see it.  I didn't know much about art back then.  Truthfully, I still don't know much about art.  But that doesn't stop me from enjoying it.  Feeling it.  Longing for it.  And loving it!  I still remember my teenage self opening up to Munch's work and being so very moved by the paintings I saw. 

Last night I went to a Fathom Event at the movie theater.  (You can read more about them here.)  They are sort of an art venue where different "events" are shown on the big screen.  This was the first one I had been to and it was sort of a documentary of Edvard Munch's life and his paintings.  It coincided with a huge art show of his works that is taking place right now in Norway because it is the 150th anniversary of his birth.

You may all be familiar with his most famous and iconic work, "The Scream."  It is one of the most recognizable and also one of the most parodied works of art in the world.  But almost everyone is touched by it in some sort of primitive or visceral way.

I love it.  I love the colors.  I love the swirling clouds.  I love the two proper people in the background that hold  themselves together and are oblivious to the trauma.  And I love the screamer.  Totally overcome by fear and anxiety and finally letting loose the true feelings within himself.  Edvard Munch had this to say about his painting:

"I was walking along the road 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."

But "The Scream is hardly all Munch had to offer.  He was a prolific painter that lived a long and fruitful life.  Here are some of my other favorite paintings.  I won't say much about them, but let you form your own feelings and opinions about them.

"The Sick Child"

Another version of "The Sick Child."

"By The Deathbed."

"Evening on Karl Johan Street."


"Red Virginia Creeper."

Then there are the self portraits:

And a few more pieces that are less "dark."

I wish everyone could see these works of art in person!  I was so lucky to grow up in the Washington D.C. area where amazing art exhibits from around the world would come to our "local" museum.  But it was also fun to be taken on a virtual "tour" through the theater presentation I saw last night!

Hope you enjoyed Munch!  (It is pronounced more like Moonk, btw, not munchy crunchy Munch.)

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