Edvard Munch: ‘The Sun’ (1910-11), Part 1

Edvard Munch, The Sun 1910-1911  (The Oslo University Mural) (image via Wikiart.org)

“Good Morning!”

These are the words this painting shouts to me. 🙂

I want to know more. Because there are numerous variations in paintings labelled ‘The Sun by Edvard Munch’,  I decide to find and compare the many versions of Munch Suns.. As usual, the more I read, the more I want to know, and this post has grown into a monstrosity – now edited into two parts. A few of my notes and sources follow in Part 1, which will focus on  the Aula ‘Sun’ and Munch.  Part 2 will cover the other ‘Suns.’

Who is Edvard Munch?

Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944) was a Norwegian painter and printmaker whose intensely evocative treatment of psychological themes built upon some of the main tenets of late 19th-century Symbolism and greatly influenced German Expressionism in the early 20th century.  Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org

Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye…

it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.”

– Edvard Munch

Preparation for the Oslo Fresco

The process of preparing for the Oslo Sun fresco was both labor and time intensive. According to Munch Museum,

… Munch experimented extensively. Instead of painting the images as traditional frescoes directly on a wetted wall, the artist employed enormous canvases …[which] allowed him to depict his subjects in a spontaneous and lively manner: his Sun shimmers in a myriad of colors, and in some of the aula paintings Munch let the paint run down the canvas. To achieve the expressive effects that he was looking for, Munch experimented with thin primer and little binder in his paint. This is why the paintings’ conservation is so challenging: since the paint comes off quite easily, little flakes of paint have to be glued back to the canvases. Munch Museum

Why So Many Suns?

According to this List of paintings by Edvard Munch, I count ten different paintings titled ‘The Sun’ produced between 1910 and 1916. In this post I will focus primarily on The Sun, 1910-1911, painted for the Oslo University Mural.  This story is effectively told in two videos.

“In this digital story, Edvard Munch himself describes his thoughts, ideas and wishes during years of work with the decoration of the University Hall in Oslo.” Munch Museum, Oslo

Video 2: Richard Strauss at University Aula in 1917

This Mural Is Enormous!

No wonder Strauss had such a reaction!

“In the cold days of March 1917, the leading German composer Richard Strauss (1864-1949), visited Kristiania, as Oslo then was called. The painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944) met him personally and describes their meeting in his memoirs. Strauss held a concert in the University Aula, which was newly decorated with Munch’s monumental paintings “The Sun”, “The History” and “Alma Mater”.”  Munch Museum, Oslo

Go to Klimt’s Kiss and Haydn’s Cello Concerto to see “The Sun” and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra in live performance on this stage.


A Closer Look – ‘Aula Sun’

“Illuminated by the sun rays are the water of the ocean, the bare rocks of a Northern landscape, and a slim strip of verdant green that separated land and sea. A clean, straight horizon line divides the waters from sky. The great sun is all-pervasive, shinning from the heavens upon land and sea, its rays reaching out to all eternity. Inhuman itself, it is the source of all life.” Edvard Munch: Paintings, Biography, and Quotes

Click for Enlarged Detail


Read More

Thanks for reading! 🙂

The End

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Amazing and your giving me ideas;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love ideas – can’t wait to see!! 🙂


  2. Sunny, thanks so much for sharing Munch’s painting of our Sun. While I was familiar with “The Scream,” I don’t recall seeing this masterpiece. Like Munch said: “Inhuman itself, it is the source of all life.”

    He has succeeded in capturing not only the glory of our Sun, but also its pervasive, pulsating energy that gives life to our planet–over land and sea. What a fitting reminder, as we start a new year here in the USA with a government shutdown over building a wall for national security, that we-humans are nothing without the life-giving force of our Sun.

    I look forward to exploring Part 2 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rosaliene, please forgive my delay in responding. As always, your comments are thoughtful, full of insight, and eloquently expressed. Thank you for sharing these impressions of Munch’s ‘Suns’ — and {{{{{Rosaliene, dear one, I hear you.}}}}}

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for my delay in responding, Vigour. Thanks for commenting! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. At the end of this post, the link to Part 2 is no longer working.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It worked for me, but I reloaded again and approved the link in notifications in case there was a problem. Thanks for letting me know, Steve. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s