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
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
- Edvard Munch: Paintings, Biography, and Quotes Web accessed Ap.26, 2018, https://www.edvardmunch.org/
- Munch Museum Web access Ap 24, 2018, http://munchmuseet.no/#
- Wikipedia contributors. (2018, April 25). Edvard Munch. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:07, April 27, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Edvard_Munch&oldid=838266363
- Google Arts and Culture ,The Sun, 1910-1911
- Stay tuned for Part 2 about four different versions of Munch’s Suns.
Thanks for reading! 🙂