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Wednesday 15 December 2010

Homage to Munch's The Dance on the Shore

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.


The Weaver of Grass said...

I didn't know that painting Dave - I love it - thank you for introducing it to me.

Unknown said...

Knowing only Munch's 'Scream' I'm also glad to see something altogether different, Dave, though I defer to you on the matter of its perfection. Your own figures always intrigue me because I have no idea how you do it! Their hollow faces are rather disturbing.

Kat Mortensen said...

Like Derrick, "The Scream" is the only one of Munch's with which I'm familiar. (Don't think twice about posting your own versions; have you seen the number of gos that have been taken on "The Scream"?)

I had a look at some larger images of the two "dance" paintings and I must say that I agree with your assessment of them. I love the colour and movement in them. I am no expert - my husband has a degree in Art History, but I only know what I like. I lean towards original works that are complex and vibrant and both of these fit the bill. Thank you for introducing them to me.


Kat Mortensen said...

P.S. Your digital version makes me think of some of the later Star Trek episodes with the Holodeck (sp?)- or what happens when someone is beamed up and then rematerialized. Well done!

Kat Mortensen said...

One more thing and then I'll go:
The lines in The Dance On The Shore, remind me very much of some of the work of The Group of Seven. I'm thinking of some of Lawren Harris's and A.Y. Jackson's landscapes. Perhaps they were influenced by Munch?

Anonymous said...

Hi David, I'm a big fan of Munch's. I've been to the Munch museum in Oslo and it was a great thrill. So, it was with delight that I saw your posting today. This one so captures the quality of light that I remember from summertime on the Oslo fjord. I like the expressive, surreal quality of your own interpretations. Wonderful!

Linda Sue said...

Munch is one of my favorites- moody, dark, emotional- sad munch- Love the uncharacteristic joy of the dancers on the shore and I LOVE your doodling- I thought at first, the photo was of wire outdoor sculptures and thought WOW! I think that you ought to turn these doodles into large wire sculpture in your spare time- you would be the "IT" kid!

Gerry Snape said...

I love all of these dance themes from the 19th c. artists including Matisse. But I also love the dance as painted by Paula Rego taken from all the work she is able to see.
I used it myself to paint a mural in the local community centre.
Thankyou for this post.

Rachel Fenton said...

Dave, your interpretation is excellent and you've just given me another poem! Many thanks. I expect I'll burn out any day now though...

Jim Murdoch said...

Considering all I've read and seen about Munch I'm amazed this one slipped by but then I keep discovering Magrittes I've never seen before too.

Dave King said...

The Weaver of Grass
Writing that post gave me a bit of an urge to do one on Edvard Munch. I might just do that.

Iconic is a massively over-used word, but I think it might genuinely apply to his Scream - though so many take it to apply to the figure in the painting, whereas it is nature that is screaming. As to my figures I draw an orthodox figure first, then place another layer over it. I then draw over my first figure as if drawing a wire-cage- or basketwork figure. This I copy and then paste to the picture under construction - in this case a simple photograph of a lake.

Thanks, but no, I wasn't apologising for creating my own version - only for the result! Thanks for the response: very much appreciated. I get the Star Trek comparison. Very apt. My own thought was of motor-cycle helmets. I had intended a more modern interpretation of the dance - more of a jive. I also see the Group of Seven similarity. You have given me many valuable thoughts to chew over. Again, much thanks.

Peggy Stermer-Cox
Hi Peggy, and a warm welcome to my blog. I, too, am a great fan of Munch. The retrospective I went to at the Tate - as it was then - too long ago to rememb er when, really took me by storm. That was in my studen t days, but my admiration for him has never diminished. Thank you very much for your helpful comments.

Linda Sue
You are pretty much on the ball where my figures are concerned. They began after I made a drawing of a wire sculpture - part of a sculpture trail in a wild life garden. It has led to a series and some on-going experimentation. Thanks for your interest.

And thanks for such an interesting response. Any chance you could post an image of your mural?

I shall look forward to seeing the poem. Glad to have helped.

Dave King said...

I understand your surprise. It is not a very well known painting - to put it mildly. I have always suspected that to be in part due to it not conforming to the accepted image of Munch's work. Still, it's even more surprising when you consider that it is linked to The Dance of Life paintings.

Kass said...

I see the connection.

I love the contrast of modernism and tradition in your offering.

David Cranmer said...

I've always admired Munch's work especially The Dance of Life.

Dave King said...

Your comment is much appreciated.

An old favourite of mine, too - since college days.

Carl said...

I think your doodle stands on its own merits while paying homage to a masterwork. Nice work dave!