Model on the Couch 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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Model on the Couch by Edvard Munch is an expressionism 1924-1928 oil on canvas painting depicting a woman in agony or pain. Currently in Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway, this painting has blocks of colours and contrasting lines to symbolise the dark side of the art.

Munch saw his mother die of tuberculosis when he was 5, and it is believed that this is a version of his mother in disarray. The lone figure showcases a state of depression and worry.

Other Works

Death in the Sickroom, 1855 was among the famous work completed by Munch. It depicts the despair his family went through as a result of the tuberculosis that led to the death of his mother. The artwork symbolises despair and shock, with the figure leaning by the door believed to be Munch, while Inger stares at the viewer. The man whose back is on her is their brother Andreas and the girl seated is their younger sister Sophie. The Sick Child, painted between 1885-86 is among Munch's earliest works. It is an oil paint on canvas that draws upon the memory of his older sister, who also succumbed to the deadly tuberculosis at the age of 15. Sophie is seen lying helplessly on her death bed, and by her is a grieving woman, who is said to be their aunt Karen.

The Scream, completed in 1893 is an icon of modern art, only second to time Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. It is an expressionistic art showcasing an actual scream piercing through nature. The painting depicts a feta-faced skull with twisted mouth and eyes wide open in a horrifying shriek. Between 1894-95, Munch painted an artwork named Puberty, with an expression of loss, agony and anxiety. It is a portrait of isolation and adolescence, symbolising frustration and sexual depression. Behind the figure is a dark shadow, perhaps hinting a haunted room. In this image, it is believed that he did not paint what he saw, but what he felt about his life or what he imagined.

Madonna is the other very famous yet controversial paintings of Edvard Munch. Completed between 1895-1902, this painting portrays an erotic nude of Mary mother of Jesus. The dreamlike figure is rendered with soft brushstrokes, with the sense of modesty only highlighted by her closed eyes. With the body contorting towards a shade of blood red boarder, the nude is brought out in the act of lovemaking. The Dance of Life art, painted in 1899 is an expressionist work inspired by symbolism. In this painting, Munch used red to symbolise love, pain and passion, black to indicate loneliness death and sorrow and white for innocence and youth. In this painting, he used three female figures to highlight three stages of life. The woman in white symbolises virginity and innocence, the one in the middle with red showcases a woman in love with the man she is dancing with and the one next to her in black is a symbol of death and sorrow. He creates close proximity between them to indicate the shortness of life.