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Edvard Munch (12 December 1863 – 23 January 1944) was a Norwegian painter. His childhood was overshadowed by illness, bereavement and the dread of inheriting a mental condition that ran in the family.

Edvard Munch was a prolific yet perpetually troubled artist preoccupied with matters of human mortality such as chronic illness, sexual liberation, and religious aspiration. He expressed these obsessions through works of intense color, semi-abstraction, and mysterious subject matter.

Following the great triumph of French Impressionism, Munch took up the more graphic, symbolist sensibility of the influential Paul Gauguin, and in turn became one of the most controversial and eventually renowned artists among a new generation of continental Expressionist and Symbolist painters.

niood lists the 10 most famous artworks of Edvard Munch:

1. The Scream, 1893

  • Movement: Expressionism
  • Dimensions: Approximately 91 cm × 73.5 cm (36 in × 28.9 in)
  • Date: 1893
  • Genre: Symbolist or Romantic
  • Title: The Scream (sometimes referred to as The Cry)

The Scream is a painting by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, created in 1893. The painting depicts a figure standing on a bridge, with its head tilted back, and its mouth open in a silent scream. The figure is surrounded by a turbulent and distorted landscape, with swirling skies and dark waters. The painting is one of Munch’s most famous works and is often seen as an expression of modern angst and anxiety.

Figure on cliffside walkway holding head with hands
By Edvard Munch – National Gallery of Norway 8 January 2019 (upload date) by Coldcreation, Public Domain

The painting’s power lies in its ability to capture the raw emotion of anxiety and despair. The figure’s twisted and distorted features convey a sense of torment and pain that is palpable. The painting has become an iconic representation of the modern condition, with its message of alienation and dislocation still resonating with viewers today. The Scream has been interpreted in many ways, from a representation of mental illness to a commentary on the state of the world at the turn of the 20th century. Regardless of interpretation, however, The Scream remains a powerful and haunting work of art that continues to fascinate and inspire viewers over a century after its creation.

2. Vampire (or Love and Pain), 1893

  • Movement: Symbolism
  • Dimensions: 84 cm x 126 cm (33.1 in x 49.6 in)
  • Date: 1893
  • Genre: Allegorical painting
  • Title: Vampire (or Love and Pain)

While Gustav Klimt’s painting Vampire (or Love and Pain) is often celebrated for its erotic and decorative elements, it is worth noting that the same year Klimt created his masterpiece, Norwegian artist Edvard Munch also painted a work called Vampire. Munch’s painting depicts a woman with her head tilted back and her lips parted, as if she is in the throes of ecstasy. Her face is partially obscured by her long, flowing hair, and her pale skin is contrasted by the dark, shadowy figure of a man behind her. Munch’s Vampire is often seen as an expression of the artist’s obsession with death and decay, with the figure of the woman representing both desire and mortality.

By Edvard Munch – Google Art Project: pic, Public Domain,

Like much of Munch’s work, Vampire is a deeply personal and emotional painting that reflects the artist’s struggles with mental illness and the existential angst of modern life. The painting’s eerie and haunting quality is enhanced by Munch’s use of shadow and light, as well as his distinctive brushwork. Vampire remains one of Munch’s most powerful and enigmatic works, a testament to the artist’s ability to capture the complexities of the human experience in paint.

3. Angst, 1894

  • Movement: Symbolism
  • Dimensions: 84 cm x 63.5 cm (33.1 in x 25 in)
  • Date: 1894
  • Genre: Figure painting
  • Title: Angst (also known as Anxiety or Despair)

Angst, also known as Anxiety or Despair, is a painting created by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in 1894. The painting depicts a lone figure standing on a bridge, with his head tilted back and his mouth open in a silent scream. The figure’s twisted and contorted features suggest a deep sense of psychological turmoil and despair. The turbulent sky and dark waters in the background add to the overall sense of unease and alienation. Angst is considered one of Munch’s most iconic works and has become a symbol of the modern condition.

Edvard Munch - Anxiety - Google Art Project.jpg
By Edvard Munch – Google Art Project: pic, Public Domain,

The painting’s raw emotional content and expressive style reflect Munch’s interest in capturing the inner workings of the human psyche. The use of bold, swirling brushstrokes and stark contrasts of light and dark create a sense of movement and intensity that is characteristic of Munch’s style. Angst has been interpreted in many ways, with some seeing it as a representation of the artist’s own struggles with mental illness, while others view it as a commentary on the existential angst of modern life. Regardless of interpretation, however, Angst remains a powerful and haunting work of art that continues to fascinate and provoke viewers over a century after its creation.

4. Puberty, 1894

  • Movement: Symbolism
  • Dimensions: 91 cm × 109 cm (36 in × 43 in)
  • Date: 1894
  • Genre: Figure painting
  • Title: Puberty (also known as The Awakening)

Puberty, also known as The Awakening, is a painting created by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in 1894. The painting depicts a young girl standing in a room, looking out into the distance. The girl’s body is depicted in a state of transition, with one breast exposed and her hand resting on her hip. The ambiguous expression on the girl’s face, along with the muted colors and hazy background, create a sense of tension and uncertainty. Puberty has been interpreted as a powerful representation of the emotional and physical changes that come with adolescence.

Puberty (1894-95) by Edvard Munch.jpg
By Edvard Munch – Nasjonalmuseet / Lathion, Jacques, Public Domain,

The painting’s unconventional composition and expressive style reflect Munch’s interest in capturing the inner emotional states of his subjects. The use of distorted forms, bold brushwork, and muted colors create a sense of unease and tension that is characteristic of Munch’s style. Puberty has been praised for its bold and frank depiction of female sexuality and has been seen as a pioneering work in the representation of women in art. The painting remains a powerful and thought-provoking work that continues to resonate with viewers over a century after its creation.

5. Madonna, 1895–1902

  • Movement: Art Nouveau / Symbolism
  • Dimensions: Approximately 120 cm x 80 cm (47.24 in x 31.5 in)
  • Date: 1895–1902 (painted in several versions)
  • Genre: Figure painting
  • Title: Madonna (also known as The Madonna)

Madonna is the usual title given to several versions of a composition by the Norwegian expressionist painter Edvard Munch showing a bare-breasted half-length female figure created between 1892 and 1895 using oil paint on canvas.

By Edvard Munch – Nasjonalmuseet / Høstland, Børre, Public Domain,

Although it is a highly unusual representation, this painting might be of the Virgin Mary. Whether the painting is specifically intended as a representation of Mary is disputed. Munch used more than one title, including both Loving Woman and Madonna. Munch is not famous for religious artwork and was not known as a Christian. The affinity to Mary might as well be intended nevertheless, as an emphasis on the beauty and perfection of his friend Dagny Juel-Przybyszewska, the model for the work, and an expression of his worship of her as an ideal of womanhood.

6. The Kiss, 1897

  • Movement: Art Nouveau
  • Dimensions: Approximately 180 cm × 180 cm (70.9 in × 70.9 in)
  • Date: 1897
  • Genre: Oil painting
  • Title: The Kiss

Edvard Munch’s “The Kiss” (1897) is a deeply emotive and evocative artwork that captures the intensity and intimacy of a romantic encounter between two lovers. Munch, a Norwegian Symbolist painter, is widely recognized for his unique ability to depict raw human emotions in a captivating and visceral manner. In “The Kiss,” he masterfully utilizes color, form, and composition to express the merging of two souls into one, both physically and emotionally. The painting features a man and a woman, locked in a passionate embrace, with their faces merging together, symbolizing the dissolution of individual identities during an intimate moment.

A depiction of two people kissing
By Edvard Munch – Google Art Project: pic, Public Domain,

The color palette of “The Kiss” is dominated by warm hues of orange, yellow, and red, evoking a sense of passion and energy, while the darker shades and shadows hint at the complex emotions and depth of the human psyche. Munch’s brushstrokes are fluid and expressive, giving the painting an organic and dynamic quality that amplifies the sense of unity between the lovers. The background, consisting of swirling, abstract forms, appears almost to be in motion, as if it were the couple’s emotions materializing in the space around them. This effect adds a dreamlike, ethereal atmosphere to the painting, heightening the viewer’s emotional response and inviting them to reflect on the universal theme of love and its power to consume and transform.

7. The Lonely Ones, 1899

  • Movement: Symbolism
  • Dimensions: Approximately 81 cm × 99 cm (32 in × 39 in)
  • Date: 1899
  • Genre: Figure painting
  • Title: The Lonely Ones (also known as Solitude)

The Lonely Ones, painted in 1899, is a captivating masterpiece by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Known for his vivid and evocative expressionist paintings, Munch’s work often explores themes of alienation, anxiety, and melancholy, which are vividly portrayed in The Lonely Ones. The painting features a man and a woman, both standing on the shore, seemingly isolated from one another. The viewer is instantly drawn to the stark contrast between the deep blue ocean and the pale figures, emphasizing the feeling of loneliness and separation. The hauntingly beautiful scene creates a strong sense of isolation and longing, a testament to Munch’s skill in portraying human emotions.

File:Edvard Munch - Two Human Beings (The Lonely Ones) (1905).jpg

In The Lonely Ones, Munch masterfully uses color and composition to invoke a sense of distance and disconnect. The deep blue sea and sky consume the canvas, enveloping the two figures and creating a sense of vast, empty space around them. The woman, dressed in white, stands with her back turned to the man, symbolizing the emotional divide between them. The man, wearing a black suit, gazes out at the sea, seemingly lost in his thoughts, further emphasizing their emotional disconnection. The simplicity of the composition and Munch’s distinctive brushstrokes highlight the raw emotional intensity of the painting. The Lonely Ones serves as a powerful reminder of the human condition, capturing the universal experience of loneliness and the longing for connection.

8. The Girls On The Bridge, 1899

  • Movement: Post-Impressionism
  • Dimensions: Approximately 81 cm × 100 cm (32 in × 39 in)
  • Date: 1899
  • Genre: Oil painting
  • Title: The Girls On The Bridge (also known as Young Girls On The Bridge)

The Girls on the Bridge, painted in 1899, is yet another iconic piece by the renowned Norwegian expressionist artist Edvard Munch. Set against the backdrop of Åsgårdstrand, a small coastal town in Norway where Munch spent his summers, the painting captures a group of young girls standing on a bridge, seemingly lost in their thoughts. The Girls on the Bridge is marked by Munch’s signature style, characterized by the use of vivid colors, elongated forms, and bold brushstrokes. The painting’s composition reflects Munch’s ability to evoke deep emotions and explore themes of youth, vulnerability, and the passage of time.

The Girls on the Bridge, 1901 - Edvard Munch

In The Girls on the Bridge, Munch employs a rich color palette to create a visually striking scene. The lush green vegetation, vibrant reflections on the water, and the girls’ colorful dresses stand out against the dark bridge and sky, imbuing the painting with a sense of mystery and intrigue. The elongated forms of the girls and the bridge, as well as the contrasting colors, lend a dreamlike quality to the work, emphasizing the fleeting nature of youth and the passage of time. Munch’s bold brushstrokes and the simplified forms of the figures convey a sense of restlessness and anticipation, as if the girls are poised on the cusp of adulthood, looking ahead to an uncertain future. The Girls on the Bridge serves as a powerful testament to Munch’s ability to capture the complexities of human emotion and experience, leaving a lasting impression on the viewer.

9. Jealousy, 1933–35

  • Movement: Surrealism
  • Dimensions: Approximately 74 cm × 100 cm (29 in × 39 in)
  • Date: 1933–35 (painted over several years)
  • Genre: Oil painting
  • Title: Jealousy (also known as The Murderess)

“Jealousy” is also the title of a painting created by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch between 1933 and 1935. The painting depicts a man standing in front of a woman who is embracing another man, with the man’s face twisted in anguish and jealousy. The painting is widely interpreted as an expression of Munch’s own struggles with jealousy and the emotional turmoil that it can bring.

Jealousy, 1895 - Edvard Munch

Munch was known for his deeply personal and expressive style, and “Jealousy” is no exception. The colors are muted, with shades of blue, green, and brown dominating the palette, and the brushstrokes are loose and impressionistic. The painting conveys a sense of raw emotion, with the man’s face contorted in pain and the woman’s embrace seeming almost cruel in its intensity. Overall, “Jealousy” is a powerful and haunting work that captures the intense emotions that can come with jealousy and insecurity in relationships.

10. The Sick Child, 1925

  • Movement: Expressionism
  • Dimensions: Approximately 101 cm × 127 cm (40 in × 50 in)
  • Date: 1925 (painted over several years)
  • Genre: Figure painting
  • Title: The Sick Child

Edvard Munch’s painting, “The Sick Child” (1925), is a striking and emotive portrayal of the intense emotions that surround illness and loss. This work is part of a series of paintings on the same theme, with the first version created in 1885-1886, and subsequent iterations throughout Munch’s career. The 1925 version captures the haunting vulnerability of a young girl lying on her deathbed, with her eyes closed and her face pallid. Her hair, rendered in vivid red, contrasts starkly with the muted green and white hues of the bed linens and surrounding environment. The girl’s helpless state and the melancholy atmosphere create an overwhelming sense of sadness and despair that permeates the painting.

By Edvard Munch – Nasjonalmuseet / Høstland, Børre, Public Domain,

The Sick Child is deeply personal for Munch, as it is believed to be inspired by the death of his older sister, Johanne Sophie, from tuberculosis when he was just 14 years old. The painting is not only a representation of the tragic loss of a sibling but also a commentary on the fragility of life and the impact of sickness on those left behind. The use of thick brushstrokes and contrasting colors highlights the emotional turmoil experienced by the artist, and the somber scene evokes an atmosphere of anguish and sorrow. Munch’s ability to capture such a raw and intimate moment of grief and pain in “The Sick Child” serves as a testament to the power of art to express the most profound human emotions.