The Dance of Life (1899-1900) by Edvard Munch

The Dance of Life - Edvard Munch - 1899 - 1900

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Dance of Life
ArtistEdvard Munch
Date1899 - 1900
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions126 x 190.5 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationNational Gallery, Oslo, Norway
Location Created Norway

About The Dance of Life

Edvard Munch’s “The Dance of Life,” created between 1899 and 1900, is a seminal work of Expressionism, rendered in oil on canvas. This genre painting, measuring 126 by 190.5 centimeters, is displayed at the National Gallery in Oslo, Norway, which is also the country where it was created. The artwork’s distinct style reflects the emotional depth and existential concerns characteristic of the Expressionist movement.

The artwork depicts a series of figures against a landscape that transitions from daylight to twilight. The scene is emblematic of the human life cycle and emotional states through the portrayal of three central women, each dressed in different colors symbolizing distinct phases of womanhood. The woman in white, positioned on the left, represents innocence and youth, while the woman in the red dress, occupying the central focus in an intimate dance with a man, signifies love and passion in full bloom. Finally, the woman attired in black, standing alone on the right side, symbolizes mourning and the later stages of life. Dancers in the dimly lit background suggest a communal or social aspect, and the overall composition resonates with symbolic meanings concerning the temporal stages of life and the universal experiences of growth, connection, and loss.

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