Edvard Munch, “Vampire” oil on canvas, 1893-4, 91 x 109 cm

So being that the reading of the Twilight series of books (Go Team Edward!) by Stephanie Meyer has got me thinking about Vampires, I’ve been contemplating if there is a way to incorporate this new found fascination into my artwork. In my moment of pondering yesterday after watching 1994’s “Interview with the Vampire” (on VHS may I add), I thought of the famous image by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Upon some quick google image searching I found the painting, a woodcut, and lithograph. According to the information I’ve gathered, the painting was originally titled “Love & Pain” but a critic at the time renamed the painting “The Vampire” because of the obvious positioning of the woman above her lovers neck. This past September the painting was sold at auction at Sotheby’s for a cool $38.16 million. It was originally sold to a collector in 1903 and in 1934 was purchased by another collector. It has been on loan at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the last 10 years. The painting, made in 1894 caused some controversy when it was first exhibited in Berlin. The piece was one of many from a series that Munch called “Frieze of Life”, which explored the icy themes of love, death, sex, and betrayal. The Scream is another well known work that is from this series.

Edvard Munch, “Vampire” Lithograph, 1895, 38.2 x 54.5 cm

Edvard Munch, “Vampire” Woodcut, 1895-1902, 38.7 x 55.9 cm

An anonymous comment from an Edvard Munch Gallery website:

Anonymous wrote on Nov 11, 2003:

Vampires usually represent evil, blood, sin. All those things relate to the passion of this painting. Passion leads to sexuality, and sexuality is carnality and can become taboo sex. Therefore, sometimes sexuality is regarded as sin, evil, and thirst for blood and flesh. Which explains the woman being a vampire. but then again, the couple is embracing each other. This portrays love. It shows that love is both pure and evil. Pure because they love each other as they are. The woman loves the man, even though he is just a man, and the man loves the woman even though she is a vampire. Unconditional and pure. But then it is also evil because it involves passion and sexuality. Without purity or passion, good or evil, love would be incomplete. It has to have both to be a perfect match, such as the one in the painting.

More soon…