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Edvard Munch was a thoughtful individual, even by the standards of artists. His self portraits would give us an eye into his soul and he produced many during his lifetime.
This particular painting features Munch sat in the foreground of a cafe or restaurant looking fairly solemn towards the viewer. In the background we see a row of tables and a few additional customers. Edvard is smartly dressed, sporting a green suit with thin red tie. The individuals at the back are added for interest but deliberately left without much facial detail in order to ensure that the main focus would remain on the artist himself.
Munch created this painting in 1906 in Germany, where he had lived for a number of years. He had already fell into the trap of alcoholism at this point and so the inclusion of a bottle of wine is perhaps more symbolic than we might initially think. His mental health problems are also apparent in his rather sad demeanor. He sits alone, reflecting on all that haunted him. Despite this, he was still able to build up a strong artistic reputation within Germany and would eventually become known as one of the most famous European Expressionist artists in history.
Followers of Munch will be interested to study some of his other self portrait paintings and many of the most famous are also featured within this website. Check out the likes of Self Portrait between the Clock and the Bed and Self Portrait with Burning Cigarette for example. Besides these, other themes that he frequently touched on were landscapes, human emotions, and also hundreds of figurative portraits. Munch will always be regarded as one of the most influential Symbolist and Expressionist artists.