The Brooch. Eva Mudocci, 1903
One of Edvard Munch’s most beautiful and highly praised female figures.
Eva Mudocci (Rose Lynton, prob. 1883−1953) was a young, gifted violinist whom Munch got to know in 1902. Together with the pianist Bella Edwards, she toured Europe giving concerts that brought her renown and acclaim.
The enigmatic Mudocci
In the lithograph, Mudocci is depicted half-length and from a low angle. Her loose dark hair flows freely around her pale face. Her gaze is lowered and turned to one side, towards something beyond the frame and invisible to the viewer. Focal to the picture is her brooch, which creates a fine balance in the composition and enhances her enigmatic gaze. What does it mean to her? What is she thinking about? Mudocci appears in two other works Munch finished in the same year: Violin Concert and Salome.
Similarities with Madonna
There are certain similarities between the figure in The Brooch and Munch’s famous Madonna. Earlier, this lithograph itself bore that title. Here the erotic dimension is considerably toned down and the figure shows more individual and thoughtful traits. The work demonstrates how Munch was gradually mastering the expressive potential of the lithographic medium. The undulating lines have a lot in common with the leisurely brushstrokes that characterise so many of Munch’s paintings. With its simple contrasts and subtle visual effects this is a highlight among Munch’s graphic works.
The work was bequeathed to the National Gallery by Hans Aas in 1947.