Edvard Munch (1863-1944) and Vincent van Gogh were contemporaries, although they never actually met. And yet many similarities can be found in the life and work of the two artists. Their work is colourful, intense, expressive and radical.
The Norwegian artist Edvard Munch greatly admired Vincent van Gogh. Both the work of Munch and Van Gogh focuses on major themes of human existence, such as the eternal cycle of life and death.
In these paintings by Munch and Van Gogh, the farm labourer symbolises the life cycle of growth, bloom and decay. In Munch’s painting (left), the theme of fertility is emphasised by the basket full of cherries and the pregnant woman.
In Van Gogh’s painting (right), the figure also introduces new life by sowing seeds. The farm labourer here is at the beginning of the cycle of life and death. For Van Gogh, this symbolism had almost religious connotations; he positioned a setting sun behind the head of the sower, as a sort of halo. By doing so, Van Gogh made this worker an earthly saint.
Van Gogh inspires
Van Gogh still inspires artists from all corners of the globe. His choice of subject, brushwork and sense of style fire the imaginations of generations of modern and contemporary artists. A work by such an artist is on display at the Van Gogh Museum throughout the year, often together with a work by Van Gogh.