“Painted in 1907, the Tate gallery’s version of Edvard Munch’s The Sick Child is one of the Norwegian’s most emotionally charged images. In it, a pale and feverish little girl turns towards a woman in black grasping her tiny hand. As the child rises from her pillow as if to look death in the face, her nurse or mother drops her head to her breast, bowed down in grief. All hope is lost…
…His childhood was dreadful and his life lurid enough, but does that really mean that the act of painting was for him a way of revisiting painful memories dredged from the deepest recesses of the soul? This is the question at the heart of Tate Modern’s wonderfully revisionist Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye. In it, the 1907 version of The Sick Child hangs opposite a more freely painted replica of the same picture painted eighteen years later. Both pictures duplicate the original image, which Munch painted as early as 1885. Since Sophie’s death took place eight years earlier, and since the kid in the picture looks nothing like his sister by any stretch of the imagination can any of these versions be described as an expressionist struggle to describe subjective truth or to capture the immediacy of a personal tragedy?” (via the Telegraph)
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Exhibit Website here.