Spaces and Art works

The Scream: Edvard Munch


This is a painting that has always fascinated me to a large extent. Its simplicity overwhelms me and I’ve always looked at it in terms of how much it expresses. Being an early expressionist painter, he not only expresses his innermost insanity and anxiety through the expression on the face but the exaggerated brush strokes add a great sense of value. Its almost like the expression wouldn’t express itself if the space around it didn’t add as a catalyst. The equation formed by the expression on the face of the person screaming as well as the brush strokes with bright colors of the surrounding areas are what make it a special equation and bring the painting together. Its almost like one would not survive without the other because the character compliments the space and the space compliments the character to a large extent. The style is so simplistic yet complex. You get every small bit of information through the painting for example the time of day. So much of the space in the painting is the scenery of the merging of land and water whereas such little emphasis is given to the characters at the further back. Being an expression oriented painting its almost comic how the entire space adds to the expression on the characters face. On a deeper level you could say its our surroundings that arouse a reaction in us or the surroundings seem like what we feel, we shape the space around us according to our mood as much as the space around us affects our mood. While an evening out walking by the water might sound relaxing and enjoyable at first, on closer look we see that Munch is really describing a moment of an almost existential personal crisis. In the painting’s background, we can see two people walking away in the other direction, which could probably be society walking away from him, creating the feelings of isolation and “fear”. In the manner of a true Expressionist painter, Munch uses color to express his emotional reactions to his environment (space), commenting on the “red” sky and the “bluish black”, described almost as an all-consuming black hole hell.

By manipulating the space in an artwork the artist gives us a sneak peak into the 3 dimensional world of his even in his flat surfaces we see depth.



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