Sign of Modernity - Summer Night on the Beach
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Munch has painted a coastal scene from his native Norway in which we look across the water lit by an orange sun. The scene, albeit at night, remains light and warm, due to the Norwegian long summer days (followed by long winter nights). The light still provided by the sun at this hour gives off a gorgeous orange/pink glow from the rocks which stand out from the surface at the water’s edge. Portraying nature was a key feature in Munch’s work; in his most famous work “The Scream” he said he was inspired by an “enormous, infinite scream of nature” that he had heard in Kristiania (now Oslo). The scene is still with only light ripples apparent in the water, breaking up the long reflection of the sun*. Perhaps in this piece we get a sense of the loneliness, and isolation, which Munch (a Nihilist) felt in his life. The work is split in to three clear sections: above the horizon, the sea, and the land. The black rocks in the sea and the rocky texture of the land (and foreground bushes) add a more interesting dynamic than these segments being divided by a straight line.