Edward Munch”s The Scream
Edward Munch - The Scream
(1863-1944). For years he had suffered from anxiety, excessive drinking, hallucinations and feelings of persecution. "Illness, insanity, and death were the black angels that kept watch over my cradle and accompanied me all my life," he said. His diary entry discussed his feelings
I was walking along a path with two friends - the sun was setting - suddenly the sky turned blood red - I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence - there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city - my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety - and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.
As a young artist, Munch was profoundly influenced by Dostoevsky. "No one in art," he told a friend, "has yet penetrated as far [as Dostoevsky] into the mystical realms of the soul, towards the metaphysical, the subconscious …" Munch's great ambition—to paint the life of the soul—found its most important expression in The Frieze of Life, a series of paintings he produced in the 1890s. TheFrieze symbolically recounts the story of an archetypal man and woman as they progress from love and passion, to jealousy and melancholy, to anxiety and death. The Scream, which comes near the end of the cycle, represents the apogee of anxiety, the soul's final breaking point. A lone emaciated figure halts on a bridge clutching his ears, his eyes and mouth open wide in a scream of anguish. Behind him a couple (his two friends) are walking together in the opposite direction. Barely discernible in the swirling motion of a red-blood sunset and deep blue-black fjord, are tiny boats at sea, and the suggestion of town buildings The green hue of the character's face and his grey clothing is symbolic of sickness and death in regards to his psychotic mental state. The red sky creates a sense of alarm, and highlights the intensity of the character's experience. Munch employs...
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