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Women Paintings > The Day After

The Day After

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"no one" wrote on Feb 9, 2003:

I have been an admirer of Expressionism for years and have written research papers on it. I am profoundly moved by this work because of how I can relate to it. This picture in particular struck me as I studied it, because it could almost be like a portrait of me... I suffer from depression and have lived in emotional anguish since important people have passed from my life... there have been countless days in my life I have found myself alone, with a bottle of something, decided to drink two, and woke up the next morning, not remembering how I got to the bed... all sprawled out. Usually there's still some left in the glass I couldn't drink before I passed out. People ask why anyone would want to destroy themselves like this? To forget... numb the pain... and as you look at the painting, a part of you has to ask how such a pretty girl could do that to herself? When you feel no one else cares, neither do you, so nothing matters. Beauty can be lethal.

Amy wrote on Nov 5, 2001:
Is it as bad as you say?
I do seem to disagree with a lot of the comments that have been put forth on this page. Although she may seem that she has been raped, or taken advantage of, maybe it was just 'the day after' a party. So many people may sit at home and have a little drink to themselves, have loads of fun, and then when the morning comes, it is not going to matter how they are lying on the bed, their head is throbbing, and their legs feel like they are going to drop off. When Edvard did this painting, maybe it was after a passionate night 'THEY' had together. As her beautiful body lay there, how could you resist painting such a relaxed figure?

April wrote on Aug 14, 2001:
I agree
I agree with the previous writer. [see comment from May 22] This painting immediately struck me as disturbing. Something happened that had nothing to do with "silky smooth hair" or languorous sensuality. She looks like she could be drugged or passed out. There is no cozy romance here, no hint of satisfaction on her part. I get the feeling that she has always been alone... even though there are clues that point to another's presence (two glasses, her undone blouse). She may have been with someone the night before but the tone of sadness in the painting and the lack of satisfaction hinted at by the her awkward position on the bed and her clothed state make me think, as the other writer, that she is the victim of someone consuming her rather than the participant. There is something fatalistic about her relaxed state, too, that is interesting. She knew the person she was with. It could have been a long-time lover or husband... but this is definitely "The Day After" a violation or rape.

Jerry wrote on Jul 11, 2001:
The morning after?
The title seems to imply that something big happened the day before. And when looking at the painting it seems to be that the girl is resting, thinking back on what she has done. Although it may seem that it is the morning after, it doesn't necessarily have to be. She is dressed and just didn't bother to make up her bed and the wine bottles on the table seem to suggest that she may have tried to drown her sorrows, which may explain the look on her face.

"E" wrote on May 22, 2001:

I'm with Julie [see comment from Apr 5], although I don't think it's a difference in male/female perspective. I'm a guy, but I immediately see on the table the key to understanding this picture. It seems that there was an alcohol-fueled evening of lust, all-too-quickly followed by a morning of exhaustion, depression, and pain. You'll notice there's no male figure - he's abandoned his prize after having obtained his gratification and satisfaction. I see no hint of a future here, except exactly more of the shallow same. I almost feel like apologizing...

Marissa wrote on May 22, 2001:

The moment I saw this painting I thought that she was dead. It was the reaction to seeing a body in such a position, as if she had been drugged and raped. It is thoroughly disturbing to me, even if the woman is a beautiful one. The title "The Day After" obviously connotates that of the day after having sex, but still, somehow it caught my attention in a painful way where it seemed as if this woman were just a doll flung onto the bed. The empty bottles of alcohol adds to the feeling of falsity because they had been drunk.

Todd wrote on May 21, 2001:
I agree with Julie
[see comment from Apr 5] Enough said. I think the rest of you all need to reevaluate the contents of the painting. Three aspects of this painting tell me this: 1) the two glasses on the table - one completely empty and one half-empty (that's flag one); 2) her position on the bed implies she is passed out; this is hardly a comfortable or sensual position to be in; she is oblivious to her condition; 3) she is fully clothed, her legs are spread and her bosom is open. I receive very violent depictions from this painting. It seems to me this could be a subtle depiction of date rape.

Lizzie wrote on May 4, 2001:
I'm with Julie [see comment from Apr 5] - this painting is not about sensuality, about staring at a beautiful woman! This woman has been raped or violated and abandoned... she has been drinking, she is passed out, she is about to wake up to the worst day of her life... think about the phrase "the day after" what does that mean, colloquially? NOT GOOD THINGS!

Julie wrote on Apr 5, 2001:
Is it just me...?
Is it just me, or is this painting more disturbing than pleasing? Maybe it's because I'm a woman. I notice that the comments from men focus on the sensuality and calm in the painting, while the instant I saw this image, I thought of pain and disappointment. The title 'The Day After' implies to me the ideas of disappointed love, crossed boundaries, and broken expectations. It seems that this woman is weak, not calm... crushed, not content. The mood of the painting is not casual and lingering, but rather harmful and violating. What has happened the night before? Do men and women tend to view such scenes so differently?

Simian Vaughan wrote on Mar 18, 2001:
It is just divine
With her head laying back, her hair draping over the side of the bed, showing its softness and smoothness, just by looking at this painting relates to things in ones own life, going to bed with a women, then waking up and just staring at the beauty of her body.

Auraj wrote on Feb 8, 2001:
Desperation intermingled with a deep sensual quality
This painting is full of sensuality and has a feel of desperation about it. As much as I sense the desperation she seems to be feeling, I can reconcile with the inner peace the woman is feeling as she seems to be lost in her sleep. Perhaps an escape from a reality she cannot accept. The feelings here are so sexual or perhaps Munch just found women to be more sensuous when, they looked vulnerable.

Joseph Teichman wrote on Jan 22, 2001:
Future promises
Her black hair, silky smooth, dreamy as the night. Soft sensuous lips, deep in thought. Her hair halfway between the floor and her bed. Her blouse exposing half of her breasts, her hand, half closed. The whiskey glass half empty. Half of the table is shown. The painting foretells of future nights together, with expectations and longings, yet to be imagined and fulfilled. The background is not too dark and not too light, everything is showing a puzzle half finished.

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Picture: Great Modern Masters: Edvard Munch.


The Day After, 1894-5
Oil on canvas
115 x 152 cm