Edvard Munch - The sick child

United Kingdom
28 Duke Street St. James's London SW1Y 6AG GB

date of creation 1896 ©
Edvard Munch
54 cm
69 cm

This melancholy portrait was based on Munch's childhood memory of the illness of his sister Sophie. He was just fourteen when she died of tuberculosis. His mother had succumbed to the same disease nine years earlier. In this composition, he focuses directly on the young girl's head and chest—the site of her diseased lungs. Her gaunt face is turned away and she stares off as if into another world.

Munch considered this work—his first attempt at color lithography—to be his best print. He used yellow and gray tones to cast a sickly haze over the scene and red lines to evoke the bloody signs of tuberculosis. He left open areas within and to the right of her face, creating a sense of glowing light that suggests the transcendence of death. Years later Munch said, "Few artists ever experienced the full grief of their subject as I did in The Sick Child."

Artist: Edvard Munch

  • lithography

28 Duke Street St. James's London SW1Y 6AG GB