Paintings > Vampire
on Dec 9, 2003:
did not title this painting "Vampire"
Jason S. is correct. This painting was
originally titled "Love and Pain". A critic named Stanislaw
Przybyszewski mistakenly interpreted this painting as being vampiric
in theme and content. The painting became known as "Vampire" only
after his erroneous assessment of it. The woman in the painting
her lover, not sucking his blood.
on Nov 17, 2003:
The painting gives a sinister and macabre view on love.
Presumably, the man in the picture represents Munch; the
woman could be a representation of Juell, one of his unsuccessful
loves. The relationship between these two figures is less
clear. Has the man fallen victim to the woman’s vampirism?
Or is he merely resting his head on the woman’s bosom,
seeking comfort? Munch has deliberately made their relationship
ambiguous. The original title of this painting, Love and
Pain, suggests a relationship between falling in love and
getting hurt. There is a tenderness and intimacy in this
painting that is not entirely threatening, and yet the
woman dominates the vulnerable man. Munch did not believe
that there is an easy answer to love.
Natalie Miller wrote
on Nov 11, 2003:
When I first looked at this picture, it looked to me like a mother or lover caressing
someone's head, and I thought that it was a picture that reflects the love that
people can feel for one another in a relationship. After finding out the title
of this lithograph, this initial perception of this picture was completely erased
and it suddenly had a rather sinister and almost disturbing atmosphere about
it, and as such i think that this picture is cleverly deceptive.
on Nov 11, 2003:
Vampires usually represent evil, blood, sin. All those things relate to the passion
of this painting. Passion leads to sexuality, and sexuality is carnality and
can become taboo sex. Therefore, sometimes sexuality is regarded as sin, evil,
and thirst for blood and flesh. Which explains the woman being a vampire. but
then again, the couple is embracing each other. This portrays love. It shows
that love is both pure and evil. Pure because they love each other as they are.
The woman loves the man, even though he is just a man, and the man loves the
woman even though she is a vampire. Unconditional and pure. But then it is also
evil because it involves passion and sexuality. Without purity
or passion, good or evil, love would be incomplete. It has to have both to be
a perfect match, such as the one in the painting.
on Nov 3, 2003:
When I look at this painting, I see a couple who are frightened of something
and clinging to each other in desperation. It makes me wonder what they may
be afraid of. The shape around them suggests that they may be trapped together
and surrounded by darkness.
Wylder wrote on Mar 30, 2002:
S, has much insight....
Sometimes, the things we see in love are so simple, yet the need to complicate
them prevails, perhaps by human nature. It is so much easier to just... be
happy. But the personal demons that engulf us like pride, arrogance, previous
pain, etc. draw us into its web of pain begets pain, and the true essence of
love is lost. The worst pain are two, so deeply in love, fighting against each
other because even if you win, you lose. The man realizes this, and he is so
tired of fighting, he lets himself be drained - he lets her feed because he
knows that at least he becomes a part of her after she consumes him. It speaks
of complete sacrifice. He gives and she needs to take to stay alive because
she knows no other way. Painful is this love. But it is love. He dies, she
lives. Can you possibly get a more explicit expression of love than that?
Alraune wrote on Mar 1, 2002:
and Love embraced
This painting for me is full of pain. I can feel it with all of my fibers when
I look at it. There is an eternal paradox of death and love being so close
to each other. Well, sometimes passion really reminds me of hunger.
S. wrote on Oct 11, 2001:
This picture was not originally titled "The Vampire" but received this name
from a later art critic. The title in inappropriate, conjuring a one-way predatory
relationship to the painting. The picture portrays two people in a complicated
and painful love, having injured one another numerous times. Nonetheless, the
man is consumed by a true devotional love but aware of the impossibility and
pain of this relationship. He sinks into the bosom of the woman while she feels
the irresistible urge to cling maddeningly to him, devouring their love but
simultaneously is overbearingly hurt and frustrated. Thus, their desperate,
hopeless, and painful "union" endures. Munch lays bare this experience of love
that some of us have unfortunately experienced.
on Jun 3, 2001:
When I look at this painting the last thing on my mind is that the woman is
a vampire. I see two people embraced, the outside world brushed over, unimportant,
and it reminds me of how being in a loved one's arms can feel... But then there's
all the black in the work. Maybe the background was blue skies and an event
in Munch's life caused him to blacken the work and turn the woman into a 'vampire'?
In any case, its highlight is that everyone sees something different in that
wrote on May 3, 2001:
This picture shows the unison of the female and the male. Though, at first,
one could say that the picture conveys the evil in the female 'feeding' off
the male, in a parasitic method. I feel that this is more of a bonding between
the two, and that male is submitting to her mystical embrace. The way in which
she holds him close to her shows her dependence of him, regardless of her need
for the vitae from his body. I feel that this piece ascends Munch's others
for it portrays the bonding of the two whilst the other motives of the piece
can be observed from further examination.
wrote on Apr 20, 2001:
is my favorite of his works
So much more evocative than "the scream," it seems to marvelously
straddle that line between comfort and despair. Beautiful, striking painting.
Jules wrote on
Apr 5, 2001:
I think it's interesting how both, the man and the woman, in this painting
are consenting. Both people have their arms wrapped around the other; there
is no struggle. Just as the woman needs the man to survive - however you'd
like to interpret that - the man also needs the woman. He is not trying to
escape. The need for the other allows the pain to occur; that same need lets
one live while the other dies. Though the title may imply, I don't think that
this is a violent painting. It is honest, and sad, and yet somehow beautiful
in its sacrifice. How did this situation come to be? ...and how will it end?
on Dec 22, 2000:
I believe this painting displays our tendency to harm the ones we love. She
drains his life because this is her way, she is harming him yet holding him
tenderly. He is in pain yet returning that same tenderness. More importantly,
I do not believe she is draining blood, but draining love. She drains his heart
much like a vampire, leaving him a bent and empty shell, which to some people,
is worse than being drained by a stereotypical vampire because when it is all
said and done, you are still alive.
Huckabee wrote on Dec 12, 2000:
Portrait of Betrayal
Edvard Munch encompassed the sorrow and anger of betrayal of someone you love
in his painting "Vampire." The man is nothing but a ragdoll in the arms of
the red haired woman, sucking his blood, draining him of his life, yet he wraps
his arms around her, because as long as she is killing him, she is paying attention
to him, she is needing him, she is wanting him. I believe Munch did an excellent
job of displaying so much emotion in one painting, and this is why "Vampire" is
my favorite piece by Munch.
Munch: The Frieze of Life.