Summer with Edvard Munch

From the life-giving force of The Sun and a Summer's day's Bathing Young Men, to the Anxiety of a blood-red sunset and a Vampire in the night – get closer to Munch's art in this poetic short documentary spun around a Summer's day and night.


"I saw the sun rise over the cliffs – I painted the sun."
- Edvard Munch

One can almost feel the life-giving force of the sunbeams on one’s body when encountering Munch’s monumental masterpiece The Sun, which depicts a glowing sunrise over the Norwegian coast. In the first part of this film you can learn more about the symbolism of The Sun and the endeavours Munch undertook when creating this forceful motif. 

A magnificent painting of a sunrise over a fjord landscape. The sun’s rays flood towards you. The sky vibrates and sends blue-green waves across the fjord.


"I swim so much that webbing is growing between my fingers."
- Edvard Munch

After a rough period in Edvard Munch’s life, he developed an interest in Vitalism, a school of scientific thought that promoted health, hygiene and physical education. Swimming in the the sea and being naked was considered purifying. Simple living and a reconnection with nature was idealized, embrazing a more natural and holistic approach to life, which is reflected in artworks like Bathing Young Men (1904). Munch observes and paints life, with "... living people who breathe, feel, suffer, and love."

From the exhibition EDVARD MUNCH INFINITE: Edvard Munch, Bathing Young Men, 1904. Oil on canvas. Photo © Munchmuseet


"The Sky turned  blood red"
- Edvard Munch

Before The Scream transformed into an image, and later one of the world's most iconic motifs, it took shape as a text. In the winter of 1892, Edvard Munch recorded a poem in his diary, which described a walk with two of his friends. He was captivated by the view of the flaming sky and the blue-black city and water. Shivering with anxiety, sensing "a great and infinite scream through nature", he had to stop, while his friends walked on. In both Despair, Anxiety, and The Scream, we see a blood-red sky from the same viewpoint overlooking Oslo. In Munch's studio, he hung the three motifs next to each other, perhaps attempting to capture anxiety from different perspectives.

 Despair (1894), Anxiety (1894) and The Scream (1910?)


"The human condition is like celestial bodies. Like a star emerging from the darkness and meeting another star".

In Vampire we see a man kneeling in a woman's embrace, surrounded by darkness. Is it a bite or perhaps a kiss that we are seeing? Or is it an intimate moment of comfort and embrace? Initially it as titled Love and Pain, but ended up being Vampire, possibly by the influence of Munch's friend, the Polish writer and occultist Stanislaw Przybyszewski, who wrote that he saw a weak man with a vampire biting into his neck.

The woman's influence on the man was a topic that occupied Munch, who never got married and put his art above all. He once wrote to Tulla Larsen, whom he had a turbulent affair with: 

"Alive I came to you. Like a ghost I leave you. "

Vampire reconstructed, from the short documentary SUMMER WITH EDVARD MUNCH