- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream Hardcover – 23 Sep 2005
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
'...[an] absorbing account of the social and intellectual forces...that Munch struggled against - or solicited - in order to create'. -- Alan Jenkins, Times Literary Supplement, November 18, 2005
'...a magisterial portrait of a deeply troubled man. It is both humorous and tragic...' -- The Sunday Times, 25th September 2005
'...a significant addition to the literature on the Norwegian artist...It is among Prideaux's achievements...' -- Christopher Riopelle, Apollo Magazine, February 2006
'...anyone who wants to know how and why [Munch] painted as he did should read this book.' -- The Independent on Sunday, 18th September 2005
'...excellent...highly detailed...fascinating' -- Martin Bailey, The Art Newspaper, February 2006
'...it is packed with information and event. Few biographies of artists can be described as gripping. This often is.' -- The Sunday Telegraph, 25th September 2005
'Already a successful novelist, [Prideaux] combines a scholar's precision with a writer's insight.' -- The Brighton Argus, 29th/30th October 2005
'[A] marvellously detailed study of Munch's extraordinary life...' -- The Birmingham Post, 17th December 2005
'[Prideaux's] biography [has] a kind of sympathetic authority... [It] fills out the man behind the paintings.' -- Patricia Railing, The Art Book, February 2006
This fine biography succeeds in explaining why this deeply
troubled man, in many ways forgotten, was and is an important and profound
artist. -- Oxford Times, June 1, 2007
From the Publisher
Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize 2006See all Product description
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
He created a body of work that was intensely personal.
Sue Prideaux introduces the reader to what kind of person has created
this extraordinary art and she does it very well. This compelling book
reveals the life and work of a fascinating man and is invaluable for
anyone interested in a captivating saga.
Munch wrote, "Illness, insanity and death were the black angels that hovered over my cradle." He was born in 1863, and tuberculosis took his beloved mother and sister when he was a boy. His father, Munch wrote, "temperamentally nervous and obsessively religious... From him I inherited the seeds of madness." His illness kept him from attending school regularly, but he early showed artistic talent, even though he got little training in art, and often rejected the training he got. Instructors, and the public, could not understand that he had no obsession with painting with physical accuracy, but was obsessed with documenting impressions and feelings. His early career was the classic one of the starving artist, a bohemian life with many lovers (sometimes shared with others in his circle), and plenty of absinthe and other alcohol intake. Many of his great works were made when he was impoverished, but eventually he found an unlikely niche, fashionable portrait painter to the rich (or as he called them, his "Mycenaeans"). The portraits were untraditional, and often uncomplimentary, but they paid; he was to become a very rich man, although perhaps due to his years of penury, he always lived simply and fretted that the tax man was ruining him. It is perhaps not coincidental that with his increase in income came critical success, although in his own country, he suffered attacks in the press, and became reclusive and suspicious. He was able to sell his expensive portraits, but had trouble forcing himself to part with any of his personal work, insisting that his paintings were his children, and keeping them around him, even if this meant they were stacked badly, were exposed to weather, or became scratching posts for the cat.
He feared all his life that he would be touched with his family's insanity, and eventually he checked himself into a Copenhagen psychological clinic in 1908. His doctor diagnosed merely alcoholism, but he was put through a fresh air cure, heart massages, and mild charges of electricity. "I have been rather short of electricity," he wrote, but thought he was getting an excellent effect from "Galvanisation, Faradisation, and Franklinisation." None of it did as much good as the steps he took for his own cure, a method he had taught himself when he was young and could not sleep because of conflict with his father: he turned his thoughts into a drawing or painting. It was resolving life's difficulties in the arena that really mattered, in his art. His paintings thus form a spiritual biography like no other artist's. This book biography is a fine introduction to the biography on canvas.