The Norwegian painter Edvard Munch is one of the most archetypal exponents of the “tormented artist”. Munch had everything for it. He suffered a very hard childhood losing his mother and sister, while the ultra-religious feeling of his hyper-nervous father did nothing but torment him and leave psychological traces throughout his life.
So the personality of this artist is largely marked by his mental problems, which led him on more than one occasion to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment. And of course his work both thematically and formally is the product of those mental states.
The most obvious case is his most charismatic painting, The Scream. But in many other of his works, his psychology is transmitted to us. He himself wrote that he painted “states of mind”. And in this oil painting that is in the Munch Museum in Oslo we can see it. In fact his titleJealousyalready makes it clear
The artist painted several times on this theme and in this case he represents himself suffering from that jealousy that he experienced so many times in a life full of disappointments and love breakups. Relationships that tormented him and that even ended in tragedy. It is not surprising that between his mental problems and his love affairs, he also ended up drunk.
The fact is that here he represents himself suffering from this terrible jealousy, and that is why his faceit is bathed in a green tint, the color of that feeling. While the woman's face is flushed, the tone of her love and passion. And as in any jealous relationship, you also see the third character.
Of those three, the only one that looks at us is Munch's own portrait, in an attitude that seems to fit perfectly with the objective of his painting: “In my art I have tried to explain life and its sense. I have also tried to help others to come to terms with life.”
Pictorially very representative of his characteristics, with the symbolism and importance he gives to colors, as well as their expressive faces. Which is why his art is considered a precedent ofExpressionism.
In short, a painting with all the ingredients of the art of this Norwegian, whose art is absolutely inexplicable without knowing his mental and physical fragility that led him to a life of suffering, whose suffering was further aggravated thanks to many voracious criticism of his paintings. As we said, he was the archetype of the tormented painter along with other creators such as Caravaggio, Van Gogh or Francis Bacon.