Edvard Munch Prints

Written by Serena Berger
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Edvard Munch prints exerted a major influence on the German Expressionist movement. While only a handful of his paintings are well known today, they are still considered seminal works for their intense and powerful treatment of psychological and dreamlike themes. Several of his works are horrifying and painful, but there are also a few Edvard Munch prints that show the gentleness and sweetness that he always sought even in his bleakest periods of depression.

The Most Famous of Edvard Munch Prints

The Scream (sometimes translated The Cry) is by far his most famous painting. A figure stands in the foreground while a bridge, a river, and a shore are all spatially warped around him. Even his body is twisted, and his face is clasped between his hands as he utters a scream of anguish, loneliness, and fear. The sky is red and violent, and there is no sign of relief or hope.

Millions of people have been touched by this cry of existential anguish. Edvard Munch had lost his parents and two siblings when he was still very young, and much of his early work reflects his struggle to accept and understand that loss. The Sick Child, Vampire, and Ashes all struggle with the ideas of death, loss, and isolation. The Scream is, in a sense, the culmination of this era of his work, as it fully realizes the agony and despair of all his previous paintings, but the painting makes this suffering universally applicable and abstract.

Later in his career, Munch seemed to have purged his demons or at least discovered a source of peace in his native land, which kept them at bay. Edvard Munch prints such as his Madonna, Summernight's Dream, and Girl on a Bridge are all more serene; Madonna, in particular, seems to have been painted by an entirely different person. While these paintings have gained a worldwide audience, none has surpassed The Scream in terms of being virtually synonymous with the artist and viscerally effective for millions of people.


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