Jan 11, 2017

Edvard Munch's Male Nudes

Most people know Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944) from The Scream (1893), the expressionistic portrait of an agonized figure under an orange sky.  When I was in West Hollywood, you could get Scream t-shirts, masks, and blow-up dolls.

But Munch had a long career in Paris of the Belle Epoque, Berlin, and Kristiania (now Oslo).  He experimented with many styles, and produced a huge opus.

Including many male nudes.

Men in the Sea (1908).

He painted female nudes, too, but the homoerotic power behind his nude male groups is undeniable.

Men in a Swimming Pool (1923)

Munch never married or established any long-term relationship that we know of, and was plagued by alcoholism and mental illness throughout his life.  A few months after completing his monumental "Ages of Man" (1907-08), which depicts 12 naked men on the beach, he attempted suicide and was admitted to a "nerve clinic."

Sounds like a tortured, closeted gay man of the era of Krafft-Ebing and Hirschfeld.

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