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Frieze of Life

Dance of Life 1899-1900 (c) Munch-museet/Munch-Ellingsen BONO 2013

Dance of Life 1899-1900 (c) Munch-museet/Munch-Ellingsen BONO 2013

The Dance of Life belongs to a series called the Frieze of Life. This frieze was intended as a series of freely adjoining pictures, which would give a clear view of life and the situation of modern man. Munch wrote: “Through them all there winds the curving shore line, and beyond it the sea, while under the trees, life, with all its complexities of grief and joy, carries on” (Stang 103). The three major themes of the Frieze of Life, love, anxiety and death are clearly expressed in The Dance of Life. Thus, this painting can be seen as one of the centerpieces in the series.Munch’s painting The Dance of Life can be interpreted from various viewpoints and on various levels. The transition of the female figures from adolescence to sexual maturity to old age gives argument that the painting deals with the everlasting cycle of life. In this “bright summer night”, Munch writes, “life and death, day and night go hand in hand” (Messer 94). Indeed, death is the birth of life, and Munch realizes this. “Munch expresses his awareness about the biological cycle of human existence by the way he dissolves the figures into the landscape, as if their destiny is indivisible from the higher rhythm of nature” (Edvard Munch 78).

 

Separation1896

Separation, 1896 (c) Munch-museet/Munch-Ellingsen Gruppen BONO 2013

 

Kyss på stranden 1916 (c) Munch-museet/Munch-Ellingsen BONO 2013

Kyss på stranden 1916 (c) Munch-museet/Munch-Ellingsen BONO 2013

 

 

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