Expressionism in Art: Vampire by Edvard Munch

Vampire was made between 1893 and 1894. Although Edvard Munch himself insisted that what he painted was just a redheaded woman kissing a man's neck, because the woman’s face was unknown and hair’s color was like blood, the man’s attitude was painful, people felt Vampire was more proper to name this expressionism painting. Some people thought that this painting was the portrayal of Munch and the prostitute. And some people also considered this painting was similar to another painting Death in Ward, which showed Munch’s miss for his beloved sister Sophia.

When people saw this mythological painting for the first time, they firstly saw an unkempt woman. Her curly red hair and white arm stood out, making people focus on these two parts. After the careful observation, the woman embraced a man who nested in her arms with face down and right hand holding the woman's waist. The woman’s hands held the man’s shoulder slightly curled, showing her muscle tension. The woman’s face was ruddy, but the eyes were unseen. She showed a state of kissing a man’s neck. And the large part of the man's face was hidden by the woman's arms and the right cheek and right eye were indistinctly exposed. Because they were relatively vague, I guess the man's eyes were closed, and he was enjoying the hug and the kiss of the woman.

After observing the figures in the painting, then look at the background which was completely black, giving people with a great sense of oppression. Even the man's clothes were black. Man was combined with the background and highlighted the woman’s independence in the painting. Munch named this painting Vampire. When people saw this work firstly, they perhaps naturally thought that the woman was a vampire. We usually knew that the vampire was mostly a woman and bitted the human’s neck to absorb the blood. This understanding should be compared with the artist's state of mind, because Munch was mentally ill. It was quite natural for him to draw a painting with such meaning.

Vampire 1895

Vampire 1895

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