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Lithographs > Madonna


Madonna, 1895-1902
60.5 x 44.2 cm

Related Works

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Your Comments

Ralf Wiechmann wrote on Jun 22, 2001:
Is'nt the fetus a man?
The women is at peace with herself. As concerns the man (fetus??) I remember a song of the "sisters of mercy": "... I don't exist when you don't see me...". The man doesn't belong to the picture, he is'nt within the picture frame. But he can't turn away himself and his eyes. He is'nt without the picture frame...

Bonnie wrote on Apr 24, 2001:
Loss of the Primary Object in Munch's Madonna
Re: Comments made by Rob (Apr 21, 2001).
The separation of the fetus from the Madonna (mother) is perhaps indicative of the sense of loss that Munch felt after the death of his mother when he was a child (loss of the symbiotic relationship). In Freudian terms---loss of a primary object leading to pathological grieving. It has been said that children who lose a parent are prone to subsequent depression later on in adulthood because their grieving process is incomplete. Unlike adults, children do not have the capacity to comprehend the magnitude of the loss. They cannot redefine their lives without that important person in a healthy way. Children internalize their grief over the 'object loss' and the 'self turns against the self' in the form of depression. Munch suffered the ill effects of depression throughout his life and it is very much present in his work. As a matter of fact, loss seems to be the defining theme in Munch's artwork. The black clouds that are so often present, represent a sense of oncoming doom. Adults who have lost a parent very often report that since childhood they have felt vulnerable and subject to chaos. Children need the presence of the mother figure to explore the world. They need to feel the security of her presence. The sentiment of Munch's work reminds me of that of Edgar Allan Poe who experienced the repeated loss of important figures during youth. Loss is definitely a major theme in Poe's work. In particular, I'm reminded of the poem entitled 'Alone'. You should check it out along with Object Relations theory (Melanie Klein), or the work of John Bowlby. Or, if you want to make an interpretation on the 'Scream', you should read R.D Laing's The Divided Self---in particular the chapter on the 'Chaotic Non-Entity'.

Rob wrote on Apr 21, 2001:
My absolute favorite of any of Munch's anythings, I don't know why, I don't know what the significance of the fetus in the lower left hand corner is or the meaning of the sperm around the Madonna, maybe I'm way off and that's some Freudian interpretation, but look at her face, is she at peace? I don't know, but I love it.

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Picture: Edvard Munch: The Frieze of Life.