How Did Edvard Munch Attempt to Visualize Intense Emotion in his Paintings?

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Question 1: How did Edvard Munch attempt to visualize intense emotion in his paintings? Discuss in relation to particular paintings.

Edvard Munch is a highly influential artist, pioneering many of the ideas that informed the German Expressionist movement. The crux of his work is in the reflection the death, grief and emotion of his own experiences. Drawing from his own tortured upbringing, with the death of his father, brother and sister, as well as his own mental and physical illnesses. There are several ways in which he visualises this emotion in his work. Through form, colour and technique Munch translates his obsession with psychological states into highly striking works that have resounded through generations of artists and audiences.

One notable stylistic feature of Munch’s works is the way in which he dissolves the forms into a representation of their essence rather than focusing on them individually. He aims to capture an emotion in a work rather than creating pictures of the ordinary. As he states in a diary entry in 1889 “No more interiors should be painted, no people reading and women knitting. They should be living people who breathe, feel, suffer and love. People shall understand the holy quality about them and bare their heads before them as if in church.” The figures interact with the scenes around them, the mood of the painting often resounding between the two. A classic example of this in one of his most notable works The Scream. The central figure merges with the sway of the background, the agonised expression on his face echoing in bands of colour through to the blood red sky. By reducing the figure to a clothed skull caught in a moment of emotional crisis, Munch translates a feeling of anguish to the...

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...Analysis Legomenon, Accessed May 11, 2012 http://legomenon.com/meaning-of-the-scream-1893-painting-by-edvard-munch.html

- Jaster, Roman. Essays > The Dance of Life Edvard Munch - The Dance of Life Site, Accessed May 2, 2014, http://www.edvard-munch.com/backg/essays/danceoflife_essay.htm

- Horsley, Carter B. Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul, The City Review, Accessed May 8, 2014, http://www.thecityreview.com/munch.html

- The Storm, 1893 by Edvard Munch, Edvard Munch: Paintings, Biography, and Quotes, Accessed May 8, 2014, http://www.edvardmunch.org/the-storm.jsp

- Madonna, 1894 by Edvard Munch, Edvard Munch: Paintings, Biography, and Quotes, Accessed May 8, 2014, http://www.edvardmunch.org/madonna.jsp

- Høifødt, Frank. Edvard Munch (1863-1944) Father of Expressionism Metropolitan News Company, Accessed May 10, 2014, http://www.mnc.net/norway/munch.htm

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