As masterpieces go, this by Edvard Munch - I will stick out my neck - is unbeatable. For me it is perfection. How on earth does one combine such calculated composition with such fluidity and dreaminess? The design of the picture is exactly calculated, but each object in it has been given its own unique colour. Yet nothing competes with anything else. The composition relies for its integrity on the interlocking shapes, the echoing patterns and the strong tonal qualities. As a bonus the lines of the tree and the ripples in the sea are perfect.
It is obviously related to The Dance of Life (below) which he painted the year before (1899) he began work on The Dance on the Shore
It is, though, The Dance on the Shore which remains my favourite. I had it in mind when I began doodling my not-so-dreamy digital version. There is no greater connection than that. When I refreshed my memory by going back to look at a reproduction of Munch's I was all but frightened into not posting mine, but it is good to remind oneself how difficult are the things that great masters almost persuade us are easy.