Photographer's Note

Madonna - Edvard Munch
Exhibition “Between the Clock and the Bed” 2017 – SFMOMA

The second day in San Francisco we started in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – SFMOMA.
Three years ago, when we were in SF, the museum was unfortunately closed for renovation and expansion. But it was certainly worth to visit SF again and enjoy this splendid museum. We even needed two days (mornings) to see all floors and exhibitions.

We started with the special exhibition of Edvard Munch – “Between the Clock and the Bed”
A beautiful exhibition, even better than the collection of Munch’s paintings we saw in the Edvard Munch Museum in Oslo.

As usual three pictures. Representing the interaction of the museum-visitors and one of the paintings of Edvard Munch: “Madonna”

Main picture (Large scalable version) Studying the painting
Workshop 1 Taking a picture – close-up
Workshop 2 Taking a picture – part 2

Make: SONY
Model: ILCE-6300
Software: PaintShop Pro 19,00
Exposure Time: 1/15 sec
F-Stop: f/9.5
ISO Speed Ratings: 2500
Focal Length: 36 mm
Date Taken: 2017-08-07 11:53
Metering Mode: Spot
Flash: Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
File Size: 5258 kb

■ Originally called Loving Woman, this picture can be taken to symbolize what Munch considered the essential acts of the female life cycle: sexual intercourse, causing fertilization, procreation and death. Evidence for the first is in the picture itself, an intensified, spiritualized variation in the nude of the 'mating' pose, the woman depicted as though recumbent beneath her lover. The ethereal beauty of her face was said to resemble both Dagny Przybyszewska and her sister Ragnhild Backstrom. Procreation was implied by the decoration of the original frame, later discarded, on which were painted drops of semen and an embryo. That Munch associated the image with death is clear from his own comments on the picture, in which he sees it as representing the eternal cyclical process of generation and decay in nature. He continually connected love with death: for the man, because it eviscerated him, for the woman, because, following Schopenhauer, he appears to have thought her function ended with child-bearing.
■ To call the picture Madonna is not in-appropriate if the word is understood metaphorically, for Munch, unable to accept Christianity or a personal god, regarded the continuous generation and metamorphosis of life in a religious light, subsuming its spiritual as well as its material components. The blood-red halo around the woman's head could be considered the spiritual counterpart to the touches of red on her lips, nipples and navel. She seems to float within curing bands of coloured light suggestive of art nouveau. Far from deforming her, however, they look like a supernatural emanation, possibly deriving from the spiritualist notion of an aura, surrounding all individuals but only visible to mediums.
■ Like many other modern artists, during his entire career, Munch likes to insistently works and reworks each idea. For example, The Scream exists in three different version, and Munch left at least five versions of Madonna. Even with different themes and variations, Munch's works always represent a fixation on subject matter, and over time they become elements in a series with a life of its own. From Claude Monet in his pursuit of natural light until his technique all but effaced the subject of his Water Lilies, from Piet Mondrian's grid series to Jackson Pollock's bare numeric titles that somehow include both One and Number One, Modernism found in series at once a point of origin and a free play that cannot cease. (source:

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Additional Photos by Rob Zwemmer (alvaraalto) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4753 W: 320 N: 7716] (30588)
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