An image of The sick child

Edvard Munch

(Norway 12 Dec 1863 – 23 Jan 1944)

The sick child

Other titles:
The sick girl
Not on display
Further information

The greatest Norwegian painter and printmaker, and an individual whose influence on the course of twentieth-century art is inestimable, Edvard Munch was prone to morbid imaginings and depressive episodes throughout his life. These stemmed from the sad and all-too-real experiences of his early years. He lost both his mother and sister to illness, watching them deteriorate, waste and die. 'The sick girl' is a print that recalls one of the most significant paintings of his early maturity, a study specific to the deathly events in the artist's family yet universal in its application. Pictured in profile against the tomb-like slab of a pillow, the frail figure represents not so much a sick child as all sick children. It is thus a definitive example of symbolism, the literary style which the artist embraced in his youth. Yet so feverish is Munch's line, and so severe his contrast of dark and light, we have no trouble sensing the searing expressionism to which he progressed in the coming years.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999.

etching and drypoint
13.8 x 17.8 cm platemark; 21.4 x 25.7 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. sheet, pencil "Edv. Munch 97".
Purchased 1987
Accession number
© Edvard Munch/BONO. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
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