wrote on Dec 12, 2003:
comments on this painting
I studied this painting in a class I am taking about Edvard Munch. This painting
is a portrait, done from memory, of his cousin Millie Thaulow. This painting
reflects Munch's memory of her on the night he began a sexual affair with her.
Millie is responding to an awakening of her sexuality; she resists it and desires
it at the same time. Munch stated that he painted her eyes as dark circles because
he remembered clearly how dark and deep her eyes seemed to him on that night.
The yellow vertical line over her left shoulder is moonlight reflected and broken
up on the water's surface. (The image is meant to be phallic. The broken up lower
portions of the reflected moonlight are meant to represent drops of seminal fluid.)
Munch repeatedly uses this phallic image in his paintings to show a sexual relationship.
Millie's dress is white because, in this painting, she has not yet consummated
her affair with Munch.
wrote on Nov 25, 2001:
This painting is absorbing and disturbing. The woman seems happy,
but poised as if on the edge of an emotion which is far from happy.
The dark colours in the lower half also lend themselves to an
idea of a changing mood in the person, and why are the eyes merely
black holes? Someone once said that eyes are a window to the soul,
does this woman have a soul? Definitely a soul in torment.
Munch. John Boulton Smith.
The Voice, 1894-5
Oil on canvas
88 x 110 cm