Edvard Munch by Himself - lectures

 Date:21/10/2005 - 18/11/2005
 Type:Culture, Painting
 Location:England, London

The Royal Academy of Arts is hosting a series of lectures in connection with its 'Edvard Munch by Himself' exhibition which currently runs in London.

Public programme
All evening lectures take place in the Reynolds Room at the Royal Academy; 6.30pm–7.30pm; £14/£6 students (incl. exhibition entry and a drink); £10 (incl a drink)

Friday 21 October
Munch: Symbolism and the Self
Like Rembrandt and Picasso, the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch made self-portraits throughout his life. Through them he explored his subtlest and most nuanced psychological states as he was transformed from a bohemian rebel to an isolated old man passing his last years in Nazi-occupied Norway.  For such a complicated and tormented personality, this was an especially challenging task.  Feeling that traditional artistic methods could not capture the essence of his being, he turned to the simplified pictorial strategies pioneered by such contemporary Symbolist artists as Odilon Redon and Paul Gauguin, which sought to capture emotions, not to detail surface likenesses. Professor Elizabeth Prelinger, Georgetown University, Washington, addresses some of Munch's most powerful and mysterious self-portraits in the context of the work of other Symbolist artists, exploring how brilliantly he manipulated the media of painting and printmaking to emphasize what the heart experiences rather than what the eye perceives.

Friday 4 November
Munch By Himself: The Self-Portraits as the Mirror of Personal Experience
There are few artists who have dedicated themselves to such merciless and revealing self-analysis or who have been driven so repeatedly to self-representation as the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Munch’s self-portraits were executed in every imaginable type and form, as heads, busts, half-length, three-quarter-length and full-length figures. He painted himself both clothed and nude, standing, sitting, sometimes reclining, the head seen from the front and in profile. Dr Iris Müller-Westermann, curator of the exhibition, discusses this significant corpus of Munch’s artistic output which forms an uncompromising visual autobiography in which the artist explores his own personal feelings of alienation but also the existential isolation of the modern individual. 

Friday 18 November
Behind the Scream: The Life of Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch was twenty-eight when he embarked on a lifelong effort to paint his ‘soul’s diary’. His ambition was to create an image of enduring psychological truth constructed from the laboratory of his own eventful and tormented existence: ‘I try from self-scrutiny to dissect what is universal in the soul’. In these pictures, Munch explored anarchism, symbolism, the occult, decadence and the irrational depths of the psyche through the nascent discipline of psychotherapy. Author of the first comprehensive biography of Munch in English, writer Sue Prideaux tells the story of Munch’s extraordinary life: the rejection of his art as the scribbles of a madman, his movement in the avant-garde bohemian circles of fin-de-siècle Paris and Berlin, and the courage with which he stood up to the Nazis as a ‘degenerate’ artist in occupied Norway towards the end of his life.

Three lunchtime lectures (1 internal, 2 external)

Monday 10 October
An Introduction to the Exhibition
Dr Adrian Locke, co-curator of the exhibition

Monday 17 October
The Modern Life of the Soul: Revisioning the Legacy of Edvard Munch
Michael Tucker, Professor of Poetics, University of Brighton

Monday 24 October
Munch and his Literary Associates in Oslo, Berlin and Paris
Dr Carla Lathe, independent art historian

To book the events, call 020 7300 5839 or fax 020 7300 8071. For information only, email or visit

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Royal Academy of Arts, LondonPhoto: © Alys Tomlinson, 2004