Golgotha 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 symbolic oil painting majorly represents the sorrowful years of Edvard Munch. Edvard completed it in the year 1900 when he was in a sanatorium in Copenhagen – he indicated these details in the upper right corner of this painting.

Golgotha symbolises the crucifixion of Christ, so it is viewed as a religious theme. But there are several subjective elements found in this art, and Christ's face itself is portrayed as Munch. The painter is the central character leaving his life without freeing his inner demons and without marriage. The persons around aren’t looking at his face; instead, they look at Edvard's feet, other than for one individual who seems to be praying for him. The person praying for him could be his lover Tulla Larsen, who really cared for Edvard. Unluckily, it is the talented painter who couldn't get out of his many issues, thereby leaving her. The year 1900 was so heart-breaking for Munch as he was unable to quit drinking. As a result, Tulla left him and got married to Edvard's younger colleague. This is one of the periods the painter suffered big time, and Golgotha and several works represented his feelings towards Tulla and the emotional agony he suffered.

The seven faces facing towards the looker-on can be representing the seven cardinal sins. The main character of the seven can be recognised as a friend and poet of the painter, Stainslaw. Stainslaw's face is used in several of the Jealousy paintings that Edvard Munch completed in his lifetime. In this painting, the crucified man is deteriorated or falling apart by his helplessness to redeem himself out of sins. The helpless nature occurred most likely because of the mental maladies, derogatory habits, and many life events. And so, the man crucified has no identity whilst the seven people appear in prominence. This is a symbolic representation showing that a person can have no detail if he is bound by the many sins, which confront him.

Besides, Golgotha also depicts the Christian faith of the painter. There's hope in this painting, which is for redemption. There's always rebirth for people who attempt to fight their inner demons, and they conquer or emerge victoriously. It's the virtues that much help people to live through the many sufferings and, therefore, living in glory forever. Regeneration is a useful element in life that the painter must believe in, in spite of all the negative elements surrounding him. Simply put, the hand-painted painting symbolises faith in the inner self and religion, which can regenerate itself, transforming into a higher being.