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''Melancholy'' ''Melancholy''
''Melancholy'' "Melancholy" ''Melancholy''
  Edvard Munch - Oil On Canvas - 81 x 101 cm – 1894, National Gallery - Oslo, Norway

The painting "Melancholia" is a landmark work for the Norwegian Symbolist artist Edward Munch. It was in this canvas that his style was clearly defined, the author's style “crystallized”, the distinctive features of which were clear contours, an expressive line with deliberate simplification of forms, gloomy character, and ... mysteriousness. This mystery, understatement, being allegorical attracts the viewer to the paintings of Munch, forcing to carefully examine and reflect a lot.

The viewer sees a stony landscape - a young man is sitting on the shore of the Oslo Fjord. The artist shows us only the face, but it was very expressive and emotional - the eyebrows are numb so that they almost fell over their eyes, the lips are set in a thin line, the head was held by a hand. The man is immersed in very sad thoughts.

The painter depicts Jappe Nilssen, a close friend of Munch. At that time, Jappe had a complicated relationship, which ended with an unlucky ending, with Oda Krohg, the wife of a famous artist. Nilssen sits miserably among the rocks on the shore at Asgardstrand, in the profile position of contemplation. In the distance the figures of a man and a woman, Christian and Oda Krohg, are about to embark on a boat, bound for an island where they will make love. Two different images are presented to us: an imaginary and a real. A blurred image of the distant figures that are the result of Jappe’s imagination as a metaphor of the cause of his melancholy and the real one where Jeppe’s sitting absorbed by his melancholy. These double images, demanding a transfer from our eye to the personage’s vision are common in Munch’s works.

Interestingly, at the exhibition in Oslo, where the work was exhibited, Oda's husband, Christian Krohg, gave a laudatory assessment of the picture, although it is known that he knew that the picture depicted his wife's lover. It is worth noting that not everyone admired the work of Munch. One of the critics called Jappe a “smoked sausage”, while others simply complained that Munch used not to finish his canvases, leaving many areas not filled with color.

The work is closely related to other works of the author. In particular, we see the same facial expression of the hero in the early version of “The Scream”. Similar images were used by the master in the pictures “Ashes”, “Vampire”. Finally, Munch has another picture with the same name - in this work, the author portrayed his sister, who at that time was in a psychiatric hospital.

Wonderful Norwegian artist. It is difficult to attribute his art to a certain direction. With the same force, the features of symbolism, expressionism, and realism appear in his works. It seems that it does not make sense to look for precise definitions, signs of one or another style. The artist “let through” all the phenomena of life through himself, perceiving them very individually. These phenomena found their very precise embodiment in images and ideas that existed in his imagination.


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