Until 21st July the British Museum plays host to the work of the Norwegian expressionist best known for The Scream (1893), which would eventually inspire the greatest film ever based on a painting (no offence to Girl With a Pearl Earring, Big Eyes or Bean).
Haunted by the loss of his mother aged 5 (as in when he was 5), Munch’s prints display a unique sense of fear, isolation and anxiety. Fans of David Lynch unfamiliar with this body of work could afjord to get to know it, such is the dreamlike pull of The Kiss (1897) or the infant horror of Inheritance (1897).
Particularly striking is the colour and beauty that runs through even the darkest of Munch’s subjects, animated by the thick, flowing motion of his brushstrokes and innovative woodcut printing techniques. Munch manages to convey internal screaming even when he’s painting some serene outdoor scene, from Sick Mood at Sunset: Despair (1892) with its violent red skies to the Van Gogh-inspired Starry Night (1893).
Guiding us through Munch’s anxieties reflected in his recurring themes and symbols (featureless faces, women with exaggeratedly long hair, dead babies), this extraordinary exhibition offers a glimpse into the visions of an unusual, profound artist. Don’t go stoned though, you’ll get the Munchies.