Friday, September 01, 2006

Two Stolen Munch Paintings Recovered!

Two stolen Edvard Munch paintings, taken at gunpoint from an Oslo museum two years ago, have been recovered by police. Let's have a look at the life of Munch and these two paintings.

Edvard Munch (1863-1944) was a Norwegian painter and printer sometimes classed as a Symbolist and sometimes as an Expressionist. He was the son of a military doctor who studied at the Norwegian Royal Academy of Drawing and then under Leon Bonnat in Paris. He fell into the Post-Impressionist scene there, finding his artistic voice in depictions of illness, death, and sexual anxiety. Munch was a commercial success and lived variously in Berlin, Paris, and Norway. Most of his works are now housed at the Munch Museum in Oslo.

One of the two paintings stolen was his most famous -- The Scream (1893). It is considered to be among the greatest Expressionist works, fully expressing the existential emotional agony of the awakened man who can find no comfort in a godless and meaningless world. Munch's text which accompanied the painting was:
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.

The other stolen painting was Madonna (1894). This Madonna figure is representative of Munch's typical view of women as sexual vampires. Of this work, Munch wrote:
The pause during which the entire world halts in its orbit. Your face embodies all the beauty of the world. Your lips, as crimson as a ripe fruit, are half open as if to express pain. A corpse's smile. Here life and death shake hands. The chain that links thousands of past generations to the thousands to come has been meshed.

What a weirdo. I think that I'll look at happy paintings instead.

2 comments:

Richard said...

I like his little notes with them.

bob said...

Munch sure is captivating but spooky weird.