In the following essays I am going to analyse two paintings, "The Scream" (1893) and "Evening on Karl Johan" (1892), by Norwegian Expressionist artist, Edvard Munch (1863-1944). These two works come from Munch's "Frieze of Life" series of paintings in particular the "Fear of Life". A large part of Munch's life was occupied by painting and his work can be divided up into four thematic approaches: "Loves Awakening", Love Blossoms and Dies", "Fear of Life" and "Death".
Munch's aunt was responsible for encouraging him in his artistic career after his mother and sister died when he was young. Similarly with his father being a doctor, Munch was further exposed to death and dying. The tragic events of his early life undoubtedly affected Munch throughout his life, certainly he found it difficult to form relationships with women. Munch is regarded as being an Expressionist artist, as he manages to convey extreme negative emotions, especially his futility of life and existence. .
"THE SCREAM" EDVARD MUNCH (1893).
At first glance, I am immediately drawn to the emaciated melting figure, in particular the face which glares at the viewer with a gaping mouth, hands clasped to it's skull-like visage. The strange looking figure is undoubtedly the focal point, situated in the immediate foreground. Then our eye takes in the rest of the painting. My eyes follow a route anti-clockwise, beginning from the screaming figure, along the dramatically angled planks of the bridge to the two anonymous, almost transparent figures in the middle distance who are cut off by the edge of the picture frame. Then our eye flows across the undulating sky which seems to merge with, and into the water and landscape below and we return back at this solitary figure. I find it difficult to leave this image as my eye continuously moves round and round. I am prevented from leaving the boundaries of the painting by the cut-off figures on the left and the vertical post on the right, which runs the length of the canvas.