Thursday, October 14, 2010

Edvard Munch, The Sun

Pinned up on the noticeboard above my desk is this picture of Edvard Munch's 'The Sun' (nicked from the Boy's Cbeebies Art Magazine, I'm afraid to say). It was painted in 1912 as a mural at Oslo University.

Munch's life is almost a catalogue of pain. He lost his mother and his sister when he was a child. He was something of a depressive, suffering a breakdown. He lived through two world wars and in the 1930s was condemned as 'degenerate' by the Nazi regime. His final years were spent under Nazi occupation (the Nazi's even orchestrated his funeral), fearing for the fate of his art. And yet, in the midst of paintings that reveal this pain (most famously, 'The Scream)', Munch could paint a thing of such naked beauty as 'The Sun'.

There is an instant appeal to me of this painting. It speaks profoundly of pain and of redemption. The sun and its reflection together begin to look like a light bulb. So there's something here about natural and artificial light working together. The sea looks like it's held back by the light, and the hard rocks are almost thawing into colour, melting away to allow a vision of the sun itself.

For me, it's a picture of salvation. The whole world charged with the glory of God, the natural and the human together. The power of this image holds back the sea, and thaws even the hard rocks that frame our lives.

And thanks to Cbeebies (and the Boy) for brightening the space above my desk with such a translucent piece of art.

No comments: