The Blank Canvas
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Munch cheat sheet

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Evening on Karl Johan Street 1892 - enlarge

"Evening on Karl Johan Street", 1892. Munchmuseet, Oslo. The painting is one of the artist's early works and is part of his life-frieze cycle. The street is a boulevard in Oslo, then called Kristiania.

Det Syke Barn 1885-86 - enlarge

"Det Syke Barn" (The Sick Child), 1885-86. The original version. Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo. The title was given to a group of six paintings and a number of lithographs, drypoints and etchings completed by Munch between 1885 and 1926. They record a moment before the death of his older sister Johanne Sophie from tuberculosis at the age of 15. Sophie is typically shown on her deathbed accompanied by a dark-haired, grieving woman assumed to be her aunt Karen.

Portrait of Hans Henrik Jæger 1889 - enlarge

"Portrait of Hans Henrik Jæger", 1889. Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo. Munch's two friends in the dialogue are in fact one man. Jæger was a Norwegian writer, philosopher and anarchist political activist who was part of the Oslo-based group known as the Kristiania Bohemians. He had some trials and tribulations. In 1886 he was prosecuted for his book Fra Kristiania-Bohêmen, was convicted and sentenced to 60 days' imprisonment and a fine of 80 krone for infringement of modesty, public morals and blasphemy. He lost his position as a stenographer at the Parliament of Norway. Oh dear. That's what you get for speaking out.

Skrik 1893 - enlarge

"Skrik" (The Scream), 1893. Munchmuseet, Oslo. Munch wrote:

"I was walking along the road 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. I stood there trembling with anxiety and sensed an infinite scream passing through nature."

© Charlie Lewis 2021