Monday, May 21, 2007

Edvard Munch: Friedrich Nietzsche (1906)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As some of you know, our distinguished co-blogger Heraclitus is writing his doctoral dissertation on Nietzsche. One of our former teachers at the University of Toronto once remarked that scholars, intentionally or not, often pick subjects that allow them to compensate for their own inadequacies or weaknesses. I will allow you to draw your own conclusions as to what the choice of Nietzsche's political thought as a dissertation topic might say about Heraclitus.

Anyway, here's Munch's portrait of Nietzsche, painted several years after the latter's death from a photograph in his Weimar archives. And here's Munch himself on his work: "As I have hinted I have chosen to repaint him in a monumental and decorative style... I have depicted him as the author of Zarathustra in his cave between the mountains. He stands on his balcony looking down into a deep valley, and over the mountains a radiant sun is rising -- One may think of the point where he talks about standing in the light but wishing to be in the dark -- but of many others as well."

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