scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Sunday, June 07, 2020

Black Death and other colours

Black Death and other colours

Edvard Munch, the artist whose work so well expressed the terror and solitude of modern life, spent a lifetime battling anxiety. He was five when his mother died of tuberculosis. Nine years later, his beloved sister succumbed to the disease. The artist’s childhood was also marred by ill-health. When he caught the Spanish Flu at his country house in Ekely, Norway, in 1918, his chances of survival were slim. But he made it. That experience found space in two works — Self Portrait with the Spanish Flu (1919, oil on canvas) and Self Portrait after the Spanish Flu (1919). In both, he appears emaciated, but the colour returns to his face in the second, and he looks straight into the eyes of the viewer.