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Anxiety Paintings > Evening on Karl Johan

Evening on Karl Johan

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Evening on Karl Johan,
Oil on canvas
84.5 x 121 cm

Your Comments

Elizabeth H. wrote on Nov 2, 2003:
The background of the painting brings the whole work together as one idea. The sun has set in the background. It has died, just as every human will inevitably pass away. The horrified crowd walks away from death, avoids it, while the lone figure stares at the coming night and acknowledges its imminence. The man, the existentialist of the painting, knows of his separation from the crowd, and understands that death is unavoidable. All lines of the painting point the eye towards the back of the painting, the place where the crowds flee from, the place where the man watches, and the place where the sun dies....

Jamie Pyette wrote on Oct 18, 2001:

Ignorance of society turns its back to those of us who won't turn eyes away from the different. Not unlike the painted crowd, many eyes won't see what is deep, only surface. The lone walking man denies the crowd, thus denying society.

Ian R. Douglas wrote on Jul 27, 2001:
The greatest weight
Searing, isn't it? It is said in Eastern philosophy that the world we encounter is a reflection of the world that we are. I am now 29 years of age. I recognize the moment of silence that descends on a soul as one passes through (though only just past), that inanimate ignorance of youth. No, this is not pejorative: how I wish I could walk and breathe and live again free of hurt, memory, knowledge. For those who look to this picture -- like I did -- and feel within their souls the greatest weight of sadness, this little thing found me recently which has helped me: a very short (3-4 pages only) essay by Kleist entitled "On the Marionette Theatre." It can be found in a book by Idris Parry entitled "Hand to Mouth." Eduardo Galeano helps some too, but Kleist really speaks to this picture, so far as I can see: the haunting terror of the total uselessness of life. As one of your other commentators says it perfectly, "I miss everything I'll never be." ... Perhaps though we don't know; perhaps, though, we can walk on. Perhaps (and this is why I write, why I comment), we can find -- as Kleist hopes -- a route around the "back of the world" if the entrance to Paradise that we face is blocked. This vision need not be destiny; it is a momentary pause. Remember you are breathing. Walk on gently.

Milk wrote on Jun 9, 2001:
The amazement stare
The people on the right do have an amazed, sad, anxious look on their eyes. I believe it's the inadequacy that the character on the right produces... The way he merges with the evening mood, the way he is walking with a strange air... like he is far away from the elements which produce the perspective, and they are right there... I think they are bothered, uncomfortable by the way the person in the right isn't walking amongst them, by the way he doesn't seem to be in the same place. And they cannot pull away, hence the closeness to the perspective, and to the viewer.

Rob wrote on Apr 21, 2001:
The Eyes
Look at their eyes, and who is that mysterious figure to the right of the crowd? It seems to me that these people are walking away from something although they are walking towards the viewer, I also believe that the people walking in front have just experienced something, something that they aren't discussing but they all know what the others are thinking, and they pass other pedestrians and don't bother to warn them of what they are going to, just look at their eyes...

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Picture: Edvard Munch: The Frieze of Life.