Girl and Death Edvard Munch Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This powerful image combines two of Edvard Munch's most common themes, female portraits and also the topic of death. Here he relates them together in a similar pose to his The Kiss and The Kiss by the Window.

The artwork itself was produced in 1894 using drypoint techniques. Munch would later produce many prints of this sketch just as he did with most of his lithographical work. The reduction of the palette down to just light and dark seemed to suit some of his dark and emotional topics and although many are unaware of his contributions to this medium, it was still important nonetheless. There are a number of different copies of these prints distributed across collections in Europe and the US, including the Munch Museum itself as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as well. They tend to be displayed alongside other prints from his career in order to illustrate his work within that discipline. They can also be loaned out or borrowed from elsewhere far more easily than his paintings and so exhibitions of these artworks can be fairly common.

These themes can fit together in many different ways, and another exciting interpretation was delivered by Gustav Klimt in 1910, with Death and Life, where a much more colourful painting is delivered and the two contrasting elements are kept separate to each other. It is possible that Munch may have influenced Klimt within this work, but there are also many other artists who have taken on these topics that it may not have been the case. Literature has also done similar, and that would play a role in inspiring both of these great artistic figures. A number of artists have used lithographs and other printing techniques in order to allow their work to be dispersed more freely, giving lower income families the opportunity to enjoy reproductions of their work as well as strengthening their own reputations across a wider audience. This has been happening in Europe since the Dutch Golden Age and would continue into the early 20th century thanks to artists such as Munch.

The composition itself found here features a young woman in a deep embrace with a skeleton. The kiss passionately, with her seemingly her unaware of the status of her partner. One his of legs juts between hers, increasing their feeling of bond. All other detail from the portrait is removed and the skeleton's arms are also loosely around her waist, as if he was alive himself. This dramatic contrast was intended to shock the viewer and then immediately prick their interest as to what they are looking at. The attractive young woman was chosen to provide the opposing view of death, with a youthful body and desirable aesthetic beauty. Munch would actually use brunettes many times as models. Although not displayed in the photograph of this artwork, there was actually a drawn border around it with three male heads sketched below.