Born in 1863 in Löten, Norway, famed painter Edvard Munch established a free-flowing, psychological-themed style all his own. His painting “The Scream” (“The Cry”; 1893), is one of the most recognizable works in the history of art. His later works proved to be less intense, but his earlier, darker paintings ensured his legacy. A testament to his importance, “The Scream” sold for more than $119 million in 2012—setting a new record.
Three years of study and practice later, Munch received a scholarship and traveled to Paris, France, where he spent three weeks. After returning to Oslo, he began working on new paintings, one of which was “The Sick Child,” which he would finish in 1886. In what would be seen as the first work to represent Munch’s break from the realist style, the painting symbolically captures intense emotion on the canvas—specifically depicting his feelings about the death of his sister nearly nine years earlier.
Success wasn’t enough to tame Munch’s inner demons for long, however, and as the 1900s began, his drinking spun out of control. In 1908, hearing voices and suffering from paralysis on one side, he collapsed and soon checked himself into a private sanitarium, where he drank less and regained some mental composure.
The Halloween Activity:
The Life of Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch’s life provides a way for students to learn about the times he lived in, and the unique challenges the author faced. Munch, a native of Norway, had a difficult life, despite his artistic success. Munch lost his mother and sister to tuberculosis when he was just a boy. Then he too was plagued by illness when he was a college student. Though he set out to study engineering in college, he eventually dropped out to become a painter. And so began his career as an artist.
Although Munch achieved fame with his work, he was also considered controversial. Munch chose subject matter and a style that was considered controversial at the time and his personal life also affected his choice of subjects. Munch drank heavily, suffered a nervous breakdown, and was shot once. These experiences informed his artistic style and choice of subject matter. Much of Munch’s artwork depicts themes of death, fear, angst and existential struggles. His most famous works are “The Scream,” and “The Dance of Life”.
Things That Make Us Want to Scream
Now it’s your turn to be the artist! It’s your opportunity to express yourself by drawing things that make you want to scream.
1) Nightmares you have had?
2) Emotions? Loss?
3) Bugs? Spiders?
4) Ghosts and the paranormal?