One of my favorite artists is Edvard Munch. His art is so powerful and emotional and raw. And it amazes me that he was doing art like this in the 1800s, way before the Expressionists of the 20th century.
There’s a madness and a chaos to his work, and you can’t help but feel something when you see it.
He often includes blank-faced people who make you think about who they might be or you may put yourself into their position. These are both specific real people with emotion and empty shells for us to put ourselves into.
Munch’s upbringing included a great deal of tragedy and illness which influenced his work throughout his life. His mother and sister both passed of tuberculosis. Mental illness also ran in his family.
His father’s strict piety caused turmoil in his life. He once said of his father, “From him I inherited the seeds of madness. The angels of fear, sorrow, and death stood by my side since the day I was born.”*
Visual Analysis Activity
His art is excellent for a visual analysis assignment. His use of the Elements and Principles of Art are masterful.
His most famous painting is obviously, The Scream. It is a great artwork for students to analyze the Elements of Art. In fact, in my How to Look at Course, I have students analyze the line and color in the artwork as an introduction to studying the elements.
Here are the questions I have students answer about this painting before we discuss as a class.
- Describe the lines in this painting.
- How does the artist create contrast with the lines?
- Describe the colors in this painting.
- How does the artist create contrast with the colors?
- Describe how the artist depicts space.
Here’s a free free printable worksheet of these visual analysis questions.
After students answer the questions in the course, they then watch a video of me going over the answers and discussing this art. Here’s the video.
This lesson is a part of How to Look at Art. Enrollment is now closed.
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Prideaux, Sue (2005). Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream. New Haven: Yale University Press. Retrieved on Wikipedia.