Thursday, May 13, 2010

Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch~The Scream

(lesson created by Pam Wilkinson)
  • Munch is one of the most well known artists of Expressionism. Expressionism is the cultural movement initially in poetry and painting, orginating in Germany at the start of the 20th century. Artists sought to express the meaning of being alive and emotional experience rather than physical reality. His works are a great example of this type as shown in the intense emotion in his subjects facial expressions.
  • He was born on Dec 12, 1863 in Loton, Norway
  • Edvard was the son of an Army Medical Corps Doctor and the 2nd of 5 children
  • He was influeneced by 2 older friends who were into Norwegian Art Scene, and were painting based on French naturalism
  • In 1880, he decided to become a painter and left his egineering studies and enrolled at the Royal School of Design in Kristiania, even though his family was not in love with his idea of becoming a painter.
  • In 1881, he attended Royal School of Drawing
  • In 1889, Edvard arranged his first one-man show at the Student Association in Kristiania.
  • He traveled a lot to learn from rich painting traditions.
  • His work was poorly received by critics at first
  • Scream - 1893- The Scream symbolizes human angst (which means anguish, torment, anxiety, trouble, worry or fear). He painted 2 versions (one pastel and one a lithograph)
  • Story of the Red Sky in the Scream painting. In Munch's personal diary, he wrote the following to explain how he felt, "I was walking along a path with 2 friends-the sun 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." The reddish sky in the background of his Scream painting was probably inspired by the aftermath of a very powerful volcanic eruption on the island of Krakotoa (now Indonsia) in 1883. It was one of the most voilent volcanic explosion on modern times and created the loudest noise historically recorded. The ash that ejected from the volcano left the sky tinted red in much of the eastern United States and most of Europe and Asia from Nov 1883 to Feb 1884. (Here's a link to an interesting article about that, connecting it to the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland)
  • Art Thefts- The Scream has been the target of a couple of high profile art thefts. In 1994, the same day of the opening of the 1994 Winter Olympis, four men broke into the National Gallery and stole the painting, leaving a note saying, "Thanks for the poor security". It was recovered several months later. In 2004, a different version of the scream painting was stolen from the Munch Museum, but was recovered in 2006. It sustained some damage and had to undergo some restoration.
  • Munch died in 1944. He willed all his property and over 1,000 paintings and close to 20,000 sketches, woodcuts and lithographs to the city of Oslo, Norway. The city opened the Munch Museum in 1963.
Supplies- white drawing paper and colored pencils

Activity- show the students a picture of the scream painting. Talk about the simple lines and expression of the face. Talk about how the scared face looks similar to popular holloween costume mask and the Home Alone movie boy character. Have the students either draw the scream painting or instead of the red sky, have them incorporate something they might be scared of instead of the red sky. Show them how to draw the simple face (like a light bulb). Many students decided to draw something that scares them instead of the red sky. Some examples include bats, snakes, the dark, clowns, etc...

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