The Genius of Edvard Munch

Perhaps one of the most striking Expressionist painters in all of history, Edvard Munch was a Norwegian Symbolist painter who lived from 1863 to 1944.  He began painting in 1880 after leaving engineering school and in 1881, he enrolled in the Royal School of Art and Design of Kristiania.  While he studied under the influence of Post-Impressionists, Munch felt that the style wasn’t very representative of his reasons for painting.  Instead, he focused more on creating situations within his paintings which were filled with emotional content and expressive imagery.

His most famous painting, The Scream, was painted in 1893.  It is a good representation of his classic style of work, which focuses more on a shallow backdrop which is a minimal space for his frontal figures to grab attention.  Munch wanted to produce convincing images depicting states of mind and psychological conditions.  The characters in his works of art often embody a certain psychological condition, appearing more symbolic than realistic.

In the late 1930s, the Nazi occupation of Germany declared much of Munch’s work to be degenerate and they removed it from German museums.  This offended Munch deeply, as he felt that he had close ties to Germany throughout his youth.  He retired to Oslo and spend the rest of his life there, producing art up to his death in 1944.

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