Sick Child 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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Munch produced a series of artworks entitled The Sick Child, which he painted between 1885 and 1926. It is his depiction of the tragic loss of his sister Sophie to tuberculosis, who was only 15 at the time, in 1877.

Munch struggled to deal with the deep emotions that he felt from losing his sister, returning to the painting again and again in his work. In all, he completed six oil paintings about the death of his sister. All of the paintings had great influence from German Expressionism and they all have an impressionistic technique to them too. The painting depicts Munch's sister Sophie moments before her death with what is believed to be her Aunt Karen by her side – a dark haired women. The painting shows Sophie sitting on a chair staring vacantly at the curtain, believed to be a symbol of her impeding death.

The woman is overcome with grief and is clutching onto Sophie's hand. The woman beside Sophie is unable to look at her in the eye presumably because she cannot bear to look at Sophie in her current condition. Munch returned to The Sick Child numerous times as a means to cope with the loss of Sophie and as a way to record his feelings and emotions about the incident. Munch himself almost lost his life to tuberculosis when he was a child.

He came to the point of obsession recreating the work in many different formats. The six main oil paintings called The Sick Child were completed over 40 years of Munch's life. He employed several models to paint the works. The work is described as a vivid display of what degenerative diseases can do to the sufferer and those around them. A version of the painting – a lithograph created in 1896 - was sold at Sotheby’s in 2001 for a sum of $250,000. Edvard Munch is a well-known Norwegian painter that created many great works that are still admired today including the famous painting called The Scream. He was born on 12 December 1863 and died on 23 January 1944.