Saturday, February 25, 2006

Edvard Munch: Melancholy (1891)

No other artist captured the condition of modern man -- anguish, isolation, and alienation at the intersection of public and private, nature and civilization -- quite like Edvard Munch.

A retrospective of Munch's work is currently being exhibited at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Slate art critic Lee Siegel has an excellent slide-show essay here. Back in November, Slate's Mia Fineman took another look at Munch's incomparable The Scream here.

It's been all politics all the time here recently, so much engagement with a world that seems to have lost its bearings. Munch's Melancholy, a dazzling work of early expressionism, evokes a far more profound state of being. As a snapshot of the human condition, it's an invitation to contemplate the totality of existence, within and without, amid the deafening din of our current state of affairs.

Disengage. Reflect. Re-engage.

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