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  • Edvard Munch
    Dec 12, 1863 - Jan 23, 1944
  • Moonlight - Edvard Munch was a Norwegian Symbolist painter, printmaker and an important forerunner of expressionistic art. His best-known composition, The Scream, is part of a series The Frieze of Life, in which Munch explored the themes of life, love, fear, death, and melancholia. His work often included the symbolic portrayal of such themes as misery, sickness, and death.
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  • Moonlight

  • Edvard Munch
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  • 1895
    Oil on canvas
    93 cm (36.61 in.) x 110 cm (43.31 in.)
    Nasjonalgalleriet - Norway, Norway.

    This painting shows one of Munch’s most simplified depictions of the Norwegian coastal landscape in the light of a summer night. Thematically it is related to The Voice, which Munch had painted earlier, in that case with a female figure in the central foreground. Moonlight captures a mood of nature, without human presence. The first thing to catch our attention is the unusual pillar of moonlight, a motif that occurs in several of Munch’s pictures. The next is the undulating coastline, which forms a horizontal counterpoint to the strict verticality of the trees. The colours are subdued, but there are clear contrasts between the dark forest floor, the white shore and the intense blue of the water. Details are simplified and subordinated to the overall scheme, but without compromising the landscape’s characteristic features and recognisability. Instead of depicting an action, the picture expresses a certain mood. At the same time there is a formal theme in the pillar of moonlight, the strict verticality of the trees, the gentle curves of the shoreline, and the water as a symbol of the masculine and the feminine.

    The motif probably derived from the area around ?sg?rdstrand, where Munch stayed this summer. It was a place to which he was very attached. The sea and the landscape both attracted and inspired him, and elements of nature in the region appear in a range of pictures from the 1890s. Running through these images, Munch wrote, “twists the flowing shoreline, beyond lies the sea, which is always in motion, and beneath the canopy of trees varied life unfolds with its joys and cares.”

    The painting was a bequest from Charlotte and Christian Mustad in 1959. It was incorporated in the collection in 1970.

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Other paintings by Edvard Munch:

Promenade des Anglais, Nice
Promenade des Anglais, Nice
Portrait de Hans Jaeger
Portrait de Hans Jaeger
Landscape. Maridalen by Oslo
Landscape. Maridalen by Oslo
Edvard Munch1863-1944. The Norwegian artist Edvard Munch is regarded as a pioneer in the Expressionist movement in modern painting. At an early stage Munch was recognized in Germany and central Europe as one of the creators of a new epoch. His star is still on the ascendant in the other European countries, and in the rest of the world. Munch's art from the 1890s is the most well known, but his later work is steadily attracting greater attention, and it appears to inspire present-day artists in particular. Often called the father of Expressionism, the Norwegian painter suffered as a child with illness, loss, and psychological terror, emotions that characterize many early images. He chose painting as his life's work at a young age and traveled throughout Europe, especially to Paris, where he absorbed the influences of Impressionism, then Post-Impressionism, and Art Nouveau design. While in Berlin, he joined a circle of writers and artists that included playwrights Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg, who became friends and collaborators. Just as his Scandinavian colleagues, Munch unflinchingly brought the darker side of the human experience to his art.