Edvard Munch

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To love another person is to see the face of God. [Les Miserables]
Victor Hugo
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Edvard Munch (12 December 186323 January 1944) was a Norwegian Symbolist painter and printmaker, and an important forerunner of the Expressionistic art movement.


  • No longer shall I paint interiors with men reading and women knitting. I will paint living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love.
    • "Impressions from a ballroom, New Year's Eve in St. Cloud" also known as "The St. Cloud Manifesto" (1889)
  • When seen as a whole, art derives from a person’s desire to communicate himself to another. I do not believe in an art which is not forced into existence by a human being’s desire to open his heart. All art, literature, and music must be born in your heart’s blood. Art is your heart’s blood.
    • Manuscript (1891), quoted in Edvard Munch and the Physiology of Symbolism (2002) by Shelley Wood Cordulack
  • I was walking along a path with two friends — the sun was setting — suddenly the sky turned blood red — I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence — there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city — my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety — and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.
    • On the experience which inspired his famous painting, The Scream (Shrik, originally titled Der Schrei der Natur [The Cry of Nature]), in an entry in his Diary (22 January 1892).
  • Could only have been painted by a madman.
    • His inscription, written in pencil, between the red clouds on at least one of his paintings of The Scream (c. 1893 - 1910), as quoted in Edvard Munch : The Man and His Art (1977) by Ragna Thiis Stang, p. 106
  • My art is rooted in a single reflection: why am I not as others are? ... my art gives meaning to my life.
    • Quoted in Edvard Munch : Psyche, Symbol and Expression (2001) by Jeffery Howe
  • From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.
    • Quoted in Sustainable Landscape Construction : A Guide to Green Building Outdoors (2007) by William Thompson and Kim Sorvig, p. 30


  • I painted from memory... the impressions of my childhood.
  • I painted the lines and colours that affected my inner eye... from memory without adding anything.
  • One night I was walking along a lane, on one side stood the town and underneath the Fjord, I was tired and sick. I stopped to look beyond the fjord — the sun was getting down — the clouds were tinged with a blood-red, I heard a cry to cross Nature: I almost thought of hearing it. I painted this picture, I painted the clouds like true blood. Colours were crying
  • Without fear and disease, my life would be like a boat without oars.

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