Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A great artist and a wary individual

Edvard Munch, considered a pioneer in the Expressionist movement in Modern Painting, was recognized in Germany and central Europe at an early stage as one of the makers of a new epoch. Here's a quick look at his art and life:
  • Born on December 12th, 1863, in Løten, Norway, to Christian Munch, a military doctor, he spent most of his childhood living in Kristiania, now better known as Oslo. He was an anxious youth, fearful of many things after his mother, his brother, and one of his sisters died of tuberculosis. Edvard was himself a sickly child.  Those early events inspired Munch to create lifeless or frightened people in some of his works. 
  • Many of his paintings and drawings help viewers understand Edvard Munch's inner world. The Norwegian artist’s works are thought to have expressed his deepest and most painful feelings. However, many of his later works reveal brightly colored landscapes and other subjects that indicate he found greater inner peace as he grew older.
  • At the age of 17 was tutored in the arts by Christian Krohg, a naturalist painter, who was quite famous in Norway.  Edvard's talent was evident by his early realist paintings, but the traumatic events that plagued Edvard's youth had an even deeper impact on his artistic vision than any other artist or artistic movement could have. 
  • In the spring of 1896 Munch left Berlin and settled down in Paris, where his associates again included Strindberg. He was now devoting greater attention to the graphic medium, at the expense of painting. He was back in Norway in 1898. Around the turn of the century Munch tried to finish the Frieze. He painted a number of pictures, several of them in larger format and to some extent featuring the art nouveau aesthetics of the time.
  • Edvard Munch, who died in 1944 at 80, said that the idea for ‘The Scream’, literally the picture of torment and dread, came to him while walking at sunset with friends. He lagged behind them “shivering with fear,” he wrote, and “then I heard the enormous, infinite scream of nature.” 
  •  Some see the figure as a symbol of Modern Man, others as a kind of cartoon E. T. Either way there’s plenty of tasty narrative potential. Did something awful just happen? Is the shrieker nuts? Will he (or she) be leaping over the bridge rail next?  The picture nevertheless still holds a legitimate and complex place in the European painting tradition and in Munch’s estimable and interesting career.

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