Lauren Britton on Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch, The Sun, 1910, Oil on canvas, 64 x 81 inches (Munch Museum)
Edvard Munch, The Sun, 1910, Oil on canvas, 64 x 81 inches (Munch Museum)

Lauren Britton considers Edvard Munch's The Sun (1910).

Britton writes: "Munch painted and re-painted this piece throughout his career on different surfaces. The Sun was a reliable painting. Munch could enter and re-enter it, tumble and turn with it. He threw himself into the sun like a boomerang and it shot him out somewhere new each time. This was his proving ground. In this version, the risen sun shatters those purple mountains. The light that skips across the surface of the ‘landscape’ forces the painting to separate into two distinct realities: the radiant energy of the sun on top and the cold brittle shards of the land below. The land is in direct relationship with that sun, the rays of light that radiate outwards touch each hill and valley, changing their color—red, yellow, orange, purple—as they refract across the mountain’s peaks and valleys, rushing towards the edge of the painting. The looser brushwork that describes the green and yellow flowers, which dance in the bottom right quadrant, acts differently. In a painting that is based around the circle and the spokes of light that spin out from its middle, this bouquet of greenish color unravels that logic and leaves me with something to mull over."