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Love Paintings > Melancholy


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Melancholy (woodcut)

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Linus wrote on Oct 24, 2003:
The sadness of life
In my humble opinion this is what this painting is about: Life itself and what it is to be a human being. Munch was trying to say: this is, essentially, what all of life is about: sitting there by the ocean, the great unknown, watching as life passes you by, as every moment turns from present to past. People come and go and the clock keeps ticking away seconds of your life. It is like the great philosopher Heraclites once said: panta rhei (everything flows). Nothing stays the same, everything is changing constantly. Be it either for the good or for the bad. Of course not everybody realizes this, only those who still have the courage and intelligence to recognize this simple fact and remain sensitive enough to feel sad and melancholic about it. It takes a truly great artist, and Munch certainly was one of the greatest, to convey those feelings of sadness and melancholy in this one striking, powerful image. This is truly a great work of art and a source for deep thinking and reflection.

Alvin Davis wrote on Mar 18, 2002:
Beautiful picture
I saw this picture for the first time when I was 11. My mother stared at it and then said do you like it. I replied it's ok, it looks too sad. I saw it again on the Internet and it's still as sad but I feel it says more to me now that I have cared enough about someone to really miss them.

[somebody] wrote on Mar 5, 2002:
Unrequited Love
What a pain and punishment it is: Unrequited Love. I am this man, the very man who can do nothing but watch the ocean as his love departs with another. The pain that comes from such a thing is immense.

Andrés Alvarez wrote on Dec 12, 2001:
5 years ago I saw Melancholy at the National Gallery in London. I cried that afternoon. Today, I saw it again through the Internet, and everything came back. So many things have changed in 5 years, so many things are exactly the same. Melancholy is a truly universal work of art, for I believe anyone can feel the pain Munch felt when he painted it. Where will we all be in 5 years? Probably still staring at the ocean while life goes by.

Andrea K. wrote on Jun 7, 2001:
to know what she [sic] is thinking...
This picture could be any year, any time, any place.... what is making her sad? Why does she sit alone? This picture speaks to me, because I can relate to sitting alone and contemplating different issues. You feel for this woman, who you don't know. His picture paints a story that a novel may not be able to do.

Cassie and Emma wrote on Oct 30, 2000:
Heavy-hearted man sits alone and depressed
Good use of light and shadow. Though the man's face is impassive, you can almost see his thoughts. The way there is a couple walking in the background adds to the effect of his loneliness and depression. His head resting on his hands gives the impression that he has something on his mind. The swirly effect used on the rocks is very realistic, but at the same time is a very individual way of looking at it. The way the light is shown on the sea is also very effective, giving the painting an eerie look.

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Picture: Edvard Munch: The Frieze of Life.


Melancholy, 1891
Oil on canvas
72 x 98 cm