Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch was a painter and printmaker from Oslo, Norway. He dabbled in many styles throughout his career, but is often seen as one of the most important forerunners of the Expressionist movement.

Most of Munch's life is punctuated by tragedy, which explains the dark aesthetic and disturbing themes of much of his work. As a child he lost both his mother and sister to tuberculosis, and was left with his father—a serious man, the son of a priest, and incredibly discouraging when it came to Munch's interest in artistic expression. In accordance with his father's wishes, Munch attended a technical college in 1879 to study engineering, but left soon after his entrance to pursue a career in art.

His earlier works are mostly done in the French Impressionist style, but Munch soon became bored with this and moved on to experiment with Naturalism, Post-Impressionism, and Symbolism. His paintings reflected his efforts to work through his intense passion, anxiety, and sorrow, and ultimately lead to his exhibition in 1892 of a series of works entitled "The Frieze of Life," which featured six paintings exploring the themes of love, fear, death, melancholia, and anxiety. The show was highly recognized and received with great criticism, as much of Munch's works were—his paintings were disturbing and frightful, according to many critics.

Several years after this first exhibition of The Frieze of Life, Munch began to delve much further into the realm of printmaking. He experimented with a variety of techniques, and over his career produced thousands of prints as striking as the paintings he was most well known for.

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