Edvard Munch (1863-1944) was a Norwegian-born expressionist painter and printmaker. He is best known for his symbolic, dark works that depicted mental anguish, playing a great role in the formation of German Expressionism.

Munch, categorized as a Symbolist painter as well as an Expressionist, believed that art should reflect an emotion or idea rather than represent the natural world in the manner embodied by Realist and Impressionist painters. His works depict scenes of contrasts: life and death, love and terror, loneliness and claustrophobia. Formally, his style can be defined by use of contrasting lines, dark colors, somber tones, and exaggerated forms and portraits. He was largely influenced in his themes of human behavior by the writings of Sigmund Freud, a close contemporary. Freud explained much of the psyche as relating to childhood experiences, and Munch’s childhood had been marked heavily by the loss of his mother and sister to tuberculosis, and his father’s mental illness.

Munch’s 1893 masterpiece, The Scream, his best known work, is a world renowned fine art legend as well as pop cultural icon.

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