Death in the sickroom (1893) by Edvard Munch

Death in the sickroom - Edvard Munch - 1893

Artwork Information

TitleDeath in the sickroom
ArtistEdvard Munch
Dimensions134.5 x 160 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationMunch Museum, Oslo, Norway

About Death in the sickroom

The artwork “Death in the Sickroom” by Edvard Munch, created in 1893, is an oil on canvas painting reflecting the Expressionism movement. This genre painting measures 134.5 x 160 cm and is currently located at the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway.

In “Death in the Sickroom,” Munch portrays a somber scene that deals with the themes of sickness and death. Central to the composition is a seated woman in the foreground, facing the viewer directly, exuding a sense of solemn resignation with her hands folded in her lap. To her left, a young woman bends over with her head resting in her hand, indicative of grief or despair. To the right, another figure stands at the bedside, somewhat obscured by the seated woman, suggesting a bystander or perhaps a caretaker. In the background, there are two more figures: one person leans against the wall with their back turned, while another, who appears older, stands near a table with medical supplies, wiping their face with a handkerchief, possibly overwhelmed by emotion.

The room is sparsely furnished, indicating a focus on the human experience rather than material surroundings. With the use of expressive lines and a limited color palette dominated by green and orange tones, Munch captures the emotional weight of the scene. The characters are rendered with a certain level of distortion, characteristic of the Expressionist style, which seeks to evoke subjective emotions rather than depict objective reality.

Overall, the somber mood and presence of several mournful figures suggest that the painting is an intimate portrayal of a family dealing with the imminent death of a loved one, a theme that Munch revisited across his body of work, likely influenced by the loss he experienced in his own family.

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