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Edvard Munch

Moonlight

Creation date:(1893)
Other titles:Måneskinn (NOR)
Object type:Maleri
Materials and techniques:Olje på lerret
Technique: Olje
Material: Lerret
Dimensions:140,5 x 137 cm
Indexing term:Bildende kunst
Acquisition:Kjøpt for Olaf Schous gave med bidrag fra Marit Nørregaard 1938
Object no.:NG.M.01914
Owner and collection:Nasjonalmuseet, The Fine Art Collections
Photo:Nasjonalmuseet / Lathion, Jacques  Download
Part of exhibition:Livets dans. Samlingen fra antikken til 1950 (NOR), 2011
Munch 150 (NOR), 2013
Metadata:DigitaltMuseum API

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A finely tuned interplay of contrasts is one of the defining features of this evocative painting. Intense, cool moonlight falls on a picket fence and a window frame behind the woman in the foreground, while also illuminating her pale face. The rest of the woman’s figure, together with the shadow on the wall and the garden, lies in muffled obscurity. Here we find shapes with concise, undulating contours that stand in contrast with the rhythmically patterned, rectangular forms of the fence and the house. Set against these flat, frontal elements, the woman’s shadow and the sections of fence and wall create an element of depth in the composition. But the visual components are not in themselves what matter most; the concise, underlying mood is one of loneliness, yearning and angst.

Munch painted this picture in summer 1893 at Åsgårdstrand, where he also painted The Voice (now in the Munch Museum), which tackles a related theme. Three years later he returned to this motif in a woodcut.

The painting was purchased for the National Gallery in 1938 with funds donated by Olaf Schou, with a contribution from Marit Nørregaard.

Text: Sidsel Helliesen
From "Edvard Munch in the National Museum", Nasjonalmuseet 2008, ISBN 978-82-8154-035-54

Edvard Munch. Highlights from the Collection