Spring Day on Karl Johan Street 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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Painted in 1890, Spring Day on Karl Johan Street by Edvard Munch is widely regarded as a classic and seminal work in the Impressionism style. The painting is a product of the period of time that Munch spent in his native Norway in the later stages of the 19th century.

Within the painting you can detect much of the freshness and vibrancy of a traditional spring day in Europe, and the fluid nature of the crowds almost gives the impression of movement, bringing an important feeling of life and motion to the still image. Both warm and cool colours are used, with almost a speckled application that brings the piece to life and gives it a lot of depth and texture. Something of note when looking at the painting is the arguable appearance of 'impatience' in the finished piece. Following in the footsteps of artists like Van Gogh and Gaugin, Munch here takes an impatient approach to the finishing details of the painting which in some areas results in inconsistency across the surface.

Some areas of the canvas are distinctly pointillist (the technique of creating an image using small, individual dots of colour), whereas others are not, and this is indicative of the artist intending to follow a certain school of art but then deviating at times. Rather than detract from the overall painting, this slight mixing of style creates a distinct and original Munchian feel. In opposition to revered masters of pointillism such as Pissaro, Spring Day on Karl Johan Street displays Edvard Munch's desire to maintain a stronger sense of structure in his art. The spontaneity of his mixing of styles in this painting shows that he was not averse to straying from the set rules of any form, rather drawing inspiration from a wide range of teaching to create something that was wholly and uniquely his own.

Spring Day on Karl Johan Street can be seen as a culmination of the range of influences that shaped the style and sensibility of Edvard Munch. After following his calling of art from a young age, Munch travelled across much of Europe, absorbing the influences of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and eventually Art Nouveau design along the way. Though this famous work showcases some of his experience in Norway, it is his time spent in Paris that is regarded to be his most formative and defining.