Edvard Munch (1863–1944), Das weinende Mädchen (The Crying Girl), 1909
Who has been more deeply hurt? The Crying Girl or the artist who painted the girl?
The facial features have been brutally erased and replaced by a lump of paint reminiscent of blood and raw meat. Full of sorrow – or perhaps guilt – the girl lowers her head. Deeply moved, she appears to be walking through a bedroom which rather than a comforting refuge, appears in itself to be threatening.
In old age Munch spoke of an angst that had accompanied him as long as he had been able to think. “ My art was a kind of self-avowal.” And The Crying Girl series of paintings was a silent scream. His mother died when he was five years old, and nine years later his older sister. The artist was never, during his whole life, able to establish a serious relationship with a woman. Rather he encountered the female gender sceptically and even fearfully, regarding women as vampires or as a femme fatale wishing only to push men into the abyss.