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  • Edvard Munch
    Dec 12, 1863 - Jan 23, 1944
  • Separation - 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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  • Separation

  • Edvard Munch
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  • 1896
    Oil on canvas
    96.5 cm (37.99 in.) x 127 cm (50 in.)
    Munch-museet, Oslo, Norway.

    In the painting Separation from 1896 we see a young fair-haired woman looking out to sea while her hair flows out to the man’s chest, as if they are still tied together even though she is leaving him. This is an example of the hair symbolism that we find in many of Munch’s motifs.
    The man is dressed in black, the colour of sorrow and despair. He is clutching his heart with a bleeding hand.. In front of him a plant or flower is growing; its shape and colour look as if it could be his own bleeding heart.

    The colour red symbolises love, pain and blood. The red heart-shaped plant reflects Munch’s ideas that all art draws nourishment from the life-blood of the artist.

    The flowing shoreline, a feature of many of Munch’s love motifs, is based on Aasgaardsstrand.

    The Separation is decoratively and aesthetically refined. The motif is split into two independent surfaces, separated by flowing lines with subtle variations, inspired by contemporary Art Nouveau or Jugend style.

    The painting has a rich and varied texture, and surfaces which are both lustrous and matt. One eye-catching detail is the use of gold paint in the woman’s hair and the landscape.

    There is no corresponding use of this colour in any of Munch’s other paintings, but gold does fit in with the tendency towards the decorative and exclusive in the art of that period.

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  • This is such a beautiful painting. The figure holding his heart is the personification of lost love while the ghostly silhouette of a woman is but an icon of ones haunted past and memories. I think Munch painted this sad image to embody the concept of heartbreak and to present a mirror image to those who have had experienced the trials, the dramas, the misfortunes and burdens of love and romance. I believe that when separation occurs, we hold our hearts in sadness not because we are overcome by grief and regret, but because our hearts seem dead to the world and likewise the world dead to us.

Other paintings by Edvard Munch:

White Night
White Night
Winter Landscape Near Krageroe
Winter Landscape Near Krageroe
Self-Portrait in Hell
Self-Portrait in Hell
Self-Portrait (in distress)
Self-Portrait (in distress)
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.