I have allowed myself the luxury of another day’s blog entry on Munch, particularly as the reality of seeing The Scream painting has not yet hit home…

And in my yesterday’s excitement I forgot to mention the other Munch painting that was also on view, Night in Saint-Cloud. Deeply anguished and traumatised by his father’s death, Munch suffered a period of intense distress and self-persecution, which eventually ended when he had two visionary experiences. The visions ended his creative block, allowed him to visually express the complex emotions that surrounded his father’s death. But perhaps most importantly, this painting, and its associated Saint-Cloud Manifesto, paved the way for Munch’s life long attempt to depict ‘the soul’, not in a religious sense, but as an exploration of how art could express feelings and emotions.

Schopenhauer believed that the limit of the expressive power of art was its inability to create the scream. Munch disproved this theory, not just as a result of The Scream, or Despair, which he viewed at the first Scream, but in his life long (and courageous) endeavour to depict man as a sentient being, hitherto unexplored in the world of art. 

A Munch exhibition is scheduled for Tate Modern from June 24 2012: Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye, and further afield Munch features in an exhibition in Stockholm (until August 2012): Passions – Five Centuries of Art and the Emotions.

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