1895 (made)

Munch, Edvard

Height: 67.5 cm, Width: 50 cm

E.582-1980 PDP

Lithograph Madonna by Edvard Munch, Norwegian, 1895

This image expresses Munch's ambivalent attitude to women, whom he saw as seductive and powerful, but dangerous and deathly. Here the woman embodies the virgin/whore duality; she is simultaneously a haloed Madonna, but flaunts a sensual provocative nakedness emphasised by her luxuriant hair. A foetus crouching in the bottom left corner symbolises the woman as fertile mother, and the image is framed with representations of sperm, but this is a vision of a predatory feminity rather than a nurturing motherhood. For Munch sex and death were fused in the bodies of women.

Location: Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS, case R, shelf 93, box L

View this object on the V&A website