Oil on canvas
90.5 x 70.5 cm
pause during which the entire world halts in its orbit. Your face
embodies all the beauty of the world. Your lips, as crimson as
a ripe fruit, are half open as if to express pain. A corpse's
smile. Here life and death shake hands. The chain that links thousands
of past generations to the thousands to come has been meshed."
depicts a beautiful young woman, one hand raised behind her head,
the other tucked behind her back. The long black hair that flows
over her shoulders, her head that is tilted backwards in a relaxed
pose and her half-closed eyes portray a harmonious and peaceful
was also called "Loving Woman" by Munch. This indicates
that the painting carries both, religious and erotic content.
The red "halo" emphasizes the connection with the Madonna.
But the figure is also characterized by her abandonment to the
sublime moment of love.
on Mar 28, 2002:
I've had the weirdest feeling when I saw this picture... it reminds
me of an old dream of mine. A dream in which Virgin Mary was bathing
and she was covered all over by steam... it was a sublime mixture
between sanctity and lust, between the woman and the angel within.
I cannot tell it is something carnal or something voluptuous,
something pure or sainted... it's the angel changed to earthly
creature, languorous smile and a beautiful naked body. A simple
woman, yes...an angel...again yes...a Madonna...oh YES!
wrote on Dec 06, 2000:
I really like his use of color, and how she in not portrayed as
typically done, she looks like a lustful woman, yet not giving
into all of the red or evil around her... A+
Mary wrote on Jan 11, 2001:
The ethereal cloud that her arms melt back into, that envelops her
body, wrapping its needing hand around her waist seems to be a symbol of
Munch's eternal longing. While her eyes are inviting, the corpse-like grin
she wears pushes one back. He was afraid to love her. Her smile reminded
him that he carried genes of death and madness.
Mehmet Cihan Yalçın
wrote on Jan 25, 2001:
Madonna is in fact the synthesis of the three stages of woman
represented seperately in other works of Munch such as Dance of Life or Woman
in Three Stages: youth and innocence, love and passion, old age and death.
Innocence is represented by her tranquil face, passion is represented by her
body and death by the sick eyes and the blood red halo.
Edvard Munch: The Frieze
Great Modern Masters: