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Women Paintings > Madonna


Madonna, 1894-5
Oil on canvas
90.5 x 70.5 cm

"The 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." (E. M.)

Related Works

Madonna (lithograph)

About the Painting

The picture 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 person.

This painting 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.

Your Comments

Padure wrote 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, angel...again yes...a Madonna...oh YES!

Leslie 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.

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Picture: Edvard Munch: The Frieze of Life.

Quotation: Great Modern Masters: Edvard Munch.