Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Edvard Munch - Poet?

It’s September, 2012. We’re on vacation in London, and I’m on my second visit to the Tate Modern. My first visit, two days earlier, was simply to see the collection and the museum’s incredible interior space (the Tate Modern occupies what was formerly a large power plant on the Thames River). This second visit is to see the current exhibition – Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye.

The exhibition does not include the only Munch painting with which I’m familiar – The Scream. The reason is that the exhibition covers only Munch’s 20th century works (including experimental photographs). The Scream, all five or so versions of it that he painted, dates from about 1895.

That’s something I learn from the exhibition. Munch (1867-1944) returned to the same themes over and over again, and not only with The Scream. The Sick Child (likely based on the experience of his sister) and The Girls on the Bridge are two other subjects that he returned to again and again. He also painted women, in all stages of dress and undress. And mundane events like men walking to work and more sensational events like house fires also inspired his painting.

Two years later, on another London vacation and browsing the Tate Modern’s shop, I find The Private Journals of Edvard Munch: We Are Flames Which Pour Out of the Earth, edited and translated by J. Gill Holland.

Edvard Munch wasn’t only an artist. He was also a poet.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

Painting: Girls on the Bridge by Edvard Munch (1899); The Munch Museum, Oslo.

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