Nov 262007
 
Edvard Munch: The Scream

In reading this famous painting, hanging in the National Museum, Oslo, Norway, critics usually bring up themes of social alienation, of emotional extremes — such as anxiety, loneliness and despair — that anticipate the nihilism of the world wars and the general sense of existential impasse that followed. The main artistic device in this sketchy, […]

Nov 192007
 
Edvard Munch: Girls on the Pier

The author of the monograph I own on Munch,¬†David Loshak, puts a lot of weight into psychoanalytical interpretation of the Norwegian artist’s work. For instance, he suggests that The Sun, as well as the star’s manifestation in “The Dance of Life” function as a phallic image; he interprets the tree and its reflection in the […]

Nov 182007
 
Edvard Munch: The Dance of Life

One of Edvard Munch’s chief strengths as an artist lies in his ability to delineate and convey psychological processes. He may not be an exceptional draftsman or colorist, but he knows how to construct a composition so as to communicate to the viewers on a very basic emotional level. Generally considered a symbolist who prefigured […]

Nov 122007
 
Giotto, Virtues and Vices: Faith

The episcopal garment and the reflective facial expression immediately immerse the viewer into a serious, perhaps somewhat grave context. The facial expression adheres to medieval iconic standards more than any other in the entire group of fourteen allegories, and purposefully so: Giotto amplifies the theme of faith via an association with a long standing pictorial […]

Sep 212007
 
Vincent van Gogh: The Potato Eaters

Sometimes during family reunions, when everybody is at the table eating, a sudden moment of silence intrudes and makes itself almost palpable. Only chewing is heard, and everyone becomes, just for a second, very self-conscious and uncomfortable — until someone talks again, and the strange sensation is gone. Vincent van Gogh’s Potato Eaters, one of […]