Day 43, No. 43. The little guy from ‘The Scream’

Edvard Munch HAIRCUT 100: Day 43, No. 43. The little guy from ‘The Scream’ by Norwegian painter and printmaker Edvard Munch (1863–1944), a series of four paintings, pastels and one lithograph produced between 1893 and 1910 under the German title of ‘Der Schrei der Natur’ (‘The Scream of Nature’). Interpretations differ, but the work appears to show a figure in a state of anguish, the outer world apparently depicting both threat and inner torment, so that man and landscape are one, physically, emotionally and conceptually – as seen by the common flow of the curving pattern of figure, water and sky. The figure is simple, almost sexless, lacking any features other than the physical articulation of panic and despair, a skull in the throes of an emotional crisis. The iconic image was, said the artist, ‘the study of the soul, that is to say the study of my own self.’ Munch’s intense and evocative representation of human psychology grows out of the late-nineteenth century Symbolist tradition, and greatly influenced Expressionism and Existentialism, his Mona Lisa of Modernism following Nietzsche’s death of God and foreshadowing Der Process by Kafka and Sartre’s La Nausée, in which narrator Antoine Roquentin concludes that: ‘Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance.’ Have a nice day.

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