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Edvard Munch a controversial artist of the 20th century

15 November 2011

Edvard Munch was born on December 12th, 1863, in Løten, Norway, the son of Christian Munch, a military doctor. His childhood artist spent in Kristiania, now better known as Oslo, the capital of Norway. At the age of 17 he started to study the arts. His tutor was quite famous in Norway naturalist painter Christian Krohg. Edvard’s talent was evident by his early realist paintings. Tragic events that Edvard faced in his youth (his mother, brother, and one of his sisters died of tuberculosis) had very deep impact on his artistic vision.

In 1886, Munch began working on his first truly personal piece – “The Sick Child“. Death, illness and mental anguish were the themes that Edvard Munch explored. The painting was based on memories of his favorite sister Sophie’s fight with tuberculosis. At the age of 26, Edvard Munch had his first exhibition (show) at The Norwegian Students’ Association in Kristiania. The show was a successful one due to the fact that he presented his lighter, less anguished artworks. He was awarded a travel grant which allowed him to return to Paris for the next three years. At that time Munch’s father died. Edvard Munch returned to Paris to study. His next show (in at the Artists’ Association in Berlin) wasn’t so successful as a previous one as critics denounced his work as that of an anarchist, and closed the exhibit. Despite this fact Munch following works were included in several exhibits. The artist lived and worked in Berlin and Paris for many years.

The Scream” is considered to be the most famous Munch masterpiece. He began working on sketches for this painting in 1891. There were several versions of “The Scream”, from black and white illustrations to several paintings, using several different techniques. In 1893, in an exhibit on Unter den Linden Munch presents some of the paintings from his Frieze of Life series. The next year, such artworks as the Madonna and Ashes were born.

In 1902, fighting with alcoholism and sadness over an ill-fated romance, Munch tried to commit suicide, but failed. , wounding his hand instead. After these tragic events Munch made several paintings which featured representations of his love lost. In 1908, he moved to a psychiatric hospital where he spent several months recovering from a nervous breakdown.

In 1909, Munch returned to Norway. There he was commissioned to create murals for the Aula of the University of Kristiania. He was given a permanent gallery at the Sonderbund Internationale Ausstellung in Cologne, while his paintings were sought by many galleries world-wide. The artist always aimed to paint the impressions of his soul, and not his eyes. And it was appreciated.

This talented artist has created hundreds of paintings, etchings, woodcuts, and lithographs. His art is controversial, but still catches attention of millions. This prolific artist died on the 23rd of January 1944 in his sleep at the age of 81.

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