Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch

Edward Munk was born on a farm in the village of Odalsburg, Leten in the Swedish-Norwegian Union. Laura's son Catherine Bjolstad and Christian Munk, priest's son. Christian is a doctor and medical officer married to a woman significantly younger than him. Edward has four siblings. Sophie and Edward inherit their artistic talent from their mother. Edward Munk is a relative of the artist Jacob Munk and the historian Peter Andreas Munk. The family moved to Christiania (now Oslo) in 1864, when Christian Munk was appointed medical officer at Akershus Fortress. Edward's mother died of tuberculosis in 1868 and his beloved sister Sophie in 1877. After their mother's death, the children were raised by their father and their aunt Karen. Often absent from school due to illness, Edward is involved in painting. Christian Munk teaches his son history and literature and tells his children the frightening stories and stories of the American writer Edgar Allen Poe. Christian's positive attitude toward his children is overshadowed by his sickly pietism. Munk writes: “My father was temperamentally nervous and maniacally religious, to a degree of psychoneurosis. From him, I inherited the seeds of madness. The angels of fear, suffering, and death have been sitting next to me from the day I was born. Christian blamed his children, telling them that their mother was watching them from paradise and suffering from their disobedience. The repressive religious environment, Edward's fragile health, and vivid ghost stories all help inspire him with sinister visions and nightmares; the boy feels that death is constantly following him. One of his younger sisters, Laura, was diagnosed with a mental illness from an early age. Christian Munk's salary is very low and the family is constantly changing cheap apartments. Munk's early drawings show the interior and individual items like medical bottles. In puberty, Munk is mainly interested in drawing.

Teaching and influences

In 1879, Munk enrolled in a technical school to study engineering and did brilliantly in physics, chemistry and mathematics. He studied drawing and perspective drawing, but his frequent illnesses interrupted his studies. The following year, Munk left school, determined to become an artist. His father sees art as a "godless craft" and his neighbors send him anonymous letters. Unlike his father's fierce pietism, Munk takes a non-dogmatic attitude towards art. In his diary, he writes, "in my art, I try to explain his life and its meaning to myself." In 1881, Munk began to study at the Royal School of Art and Design in Christiania, one of the founders of which is the distant his relative Jacob Munk. His teachers are sculptor Julius Middleton and artist Christian Krochg. Drawings of naked models of this period survived only in sketches, probably confiscated by his father. During those early years, Munk experimented with many styles, including naturalism and impressionism. Some early works are reminiscent of Manet. Many of these attempts receive adverse criticism from the press and his father, who nevertheless provides him with small sums of living expenses. At one point, however, Munk's father, who may have emerged from the negative opinion of Munk's cousin Edward Dirics (an established traditional artist), destroys at least one painting (probably on a nude model) and refuses to pay more money for art.


Munch broke through Europe in 1892. His desire is to portray a new form of reality based on psychological experiences rather than visual ones. Therefore, Munk's paintings show the mental state of the author, often reinforced by the depiction of a human figure in the foreground and a running event in the background.

The Scream (1893; originally titled Despair), Munk's most famous painting, is considered an icon of existential suffering. When asked about this painting, "Why is he screaming?", Munk once jokingly replied, "You lost your bag."

As with many of his works, he paints several versions of it. The shout is one of the paintings in a series called Lebensfries, in which Munk explores the themes of life, love, fear, death and melancholy.

The themes of The Life Freeze constantly return to Munch's work in paintings such as "The Sick Child" (1886, a portrait of his sick sister Sophie), "The Vampire" (1893 - 1894), "Ash" (1894), and " The Bridge. " The latter shows flimsy figures with impersonal or hidden faces, overlooking the threatening forms of thick trees and overhanging houses. Munch portrays women as either fragile, innocent sufferers, or as mortals, vampire drinkers. Many researchers believe this reflects his sexual fears.