The one museum I wanted to visit in Oslo. To see the sketches and paintings of Edvard Munch. He sketched a lot of stuff, but I'm not interested in his landscapes. I like his skulls and interpretation of man and his angst, the inner layers of the soul, so to speak. Symbolism at its best. As a teenager, I was probably drawn to the tangible depiction of his inner anguish, although our angst weren't shared and stemmed from different sources and life experiences.
I wasn't just here for that one painting. You know it. 'The Scream'. It exists as four versions- two pastels (1893, 1895) and two paintings (1893, 1910), not including the numerous lithographs made. Oslo's National Gallery holds the 1893 version and Munchmuseet holds the 1910. Munchmuseet's current exhibition partners Naturhistorisk Museum. It's themed 'Gjennom Naturen' ('Through Nature'), with nine chapters making up the gallery space. The museum didn't allow photos to be taken of their version of 'The Scream'. The 1910 version marked the first chapter of the exhibition; the first chapter was titled 'Human Beings and Evolution'. The painting was placed next to the most complete and oldest known fossil of a primate, 'Ida'. They sat so close that one would have thought they were somehow interlinked. In this current exhibition, they are. The curators wish visitors to explore the links between Munch's art and natural history.
Munchmuseet is small, for now. It's slated to move downtown to the waterfront. It is afterall one whole building dedicated to one person, albeit a renowned artist. That's precisely why I want to visit it now. There weren't many visitors on a week day and I could linger in front of favorite paintings as much as I wanted. Stood a long while contemplating 'Vampyr II'. Apparently Edvard Munch didn't intend for this painting to be interpreted that way. He orignally titled it 'Love and Pain', and stressed that it was simply an illustration of a woman kissing a man on the neck. Many interpretations and theories put forth about it, but the artist remained ambiguous about the significance. Whatever it is, the piece is arresting and intriguing, at least to me.
|'Vampyr II' 1895. Lithograph in color.|