• Artist: Edvard Munch
  • Creation date: (1893)
  • Object type: Painting

On display: Room 060 The Collection Exhibition - Edvard Munch


A finely tuned interplay of contrasts is one of the defining features of this evocative painting. Intense, cool moonlight falls on a picket fence and a window frame behind the woman in the foreground, while also illuminating her pale face. The rest of the woman’s figure, together with the shadow on the wall and the garden, lies in muffled obscurity. Here we find shapes with concise, undulating contours that stand in contrast with the rhythmically patterned, rectangular forms of the fence and the house. Set against these flat, frontal elements, the woman’s shadow and the sections of fence and wall create an element of depth in the composition. But the visual components are not in themselves what matter most; the concise, underlying mood is one of loneliness, yearning and angst.

Munch painted this picture in summer 1893 at Åsgårdstrand, where he also painted The Voice (now in the Munch Museum), which tackles a related theme. Three years later he returned to this motif in a woodcut.

The painting was purchased for the National Gallery in 1938 with funds donated by Olaf Schou, with a contribution from Marit Nørregaard.

Text: Sidsel Helliesen

From "Edvard Munch in the National Museum", Nasjonalmuseet 2008, ISBN 978-82-8154-035-54


Edvard Munch

Visual artist, Painter, Graphic artist, Photographer, Drawing artist

Born 12.12.1863 in Løten, Hedmark, death 23.01.1944 in Oslo

Edvard Munch worked as an artist for over sixty years. He was creative, ambitious and hardworking. He produced nearly two thousand paintings, hundreds of graphic motifs and thousands of drawings. In addition, he wrote poems, prose and diaries. The Scream, Madonna, Death in the Sickroom and the other symbolist works from the 1890s have made him one of the most famous artists of our time.

"Don't become an artist!"

Edvard wanted to become an artist early on, and there was no doubt that he had talent. But his father refused to allow him to follow his dream, so Edvard began studying engineering. But already after one year he chose to defy his father, and switched from engineering college to the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in Kristiania, now Oslo.

A talented and provocative bohemian

It was obvious to everyone in the Norwegian art community that the young man showed rare talent. In 1883, at the age of 20, he debuted at Høstutstillingen (The Autumn Exhibition). In 1886, Munch became acquainted with author and anarchist Hans Jæger, a leading figure in the Kristiania bohemian community. The bohemian community convinced Munch that the arts had to renew themselves to reach people and to have relevance in their lives. In the same year he exhibited the painting The Sick Child. This generated debate!

Courage led to breakthrough

Some acclaimed The Sick Child a work of genius, while others deemed it unfinished and unworthy of exhibition. Today it is considered to mark Munch's breakthrough. It was here that demonstrated the independence and willingness to break fresh ground.

From this point until his final brush strokes, his artistic practice can be summed up in just word: experimentation. Munch did not care about established "rules" for so-called good art. His techniques in both painting and graphics were innovative.

From people's emotional life to agriculture and landscape

Henrik Ibsen's plays about humanity's existential challenges inspired Munch. Themes such as death, love, sexuality, jealousy and anxiety were central to his early images. Some themes sprang from personal experience. For example, Death in the Sickroom and The Sick Child are linked to his memory of his mother and sister's illnesses and early deaths.

After 1910, Munch chose a quieter and secluded life. At his own farms at Ekely in Oslo and in Hvitsten, he found entirely new motifs, such as agriculture, working life and landscapes. Man in the Cabbage Field is a typical example from this period.

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Måneskinn (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Olje på lerret
  • Height: 140.5 cm
  • Width: 137 cm
Purchased 1938
Inventory no.:
Part of exhibition:
Visions du nord. Lumière du monde, lumière du ciel, 1998
Edvard Munch. I oss er verdener, 2019 - 2020
Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed, 2017
Livets dans. Samlingen fra antikken til 1950, 2011 - 2019
Edvard Munchs utställning, 1894
Eduard Munch, 1898
Den norske Udstilling, 1906
Edvard Munch - Maleriudstilling, 1897
Ausstellung Edvard Munch, 1954
Jubileumsutstilling 1814–1964, 1964
Edvard Munch, 1965 - 1966
Edvard Munch 1863-1944, 1974
Edvard Munch 1863-1944, 1973
The Art of Norway 1750-1914, 1979
Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed, 2018
Edvard Munch - Thema und Variation, 2003
Edvard Munch, 1987
Edvard Munch. The modern life of the soul, 2006
Edvard Munch. The Frieze of Life, 1992 - 1993
Edvard Munch, 1895
Edvard Munchs Maleriudstilling, 1901
Fyns Stiftsmuseums Edvard Munch udstilling, 1955
Ausstellung Edvard Munch, 1955
Symbolismus in Europa, 1976
150 Jahre Norwegische Malerei, 1964
Northern light. Realism and symbolism in Scandinavian painting, 1982 - 1983
Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed, 2017 - 2018
Edvard Munch. The Frieze of Life, 1993
Edvard Munch, 1987 - 1988
Edvard Munch, 1895
Harald Nørregaards samling, 1938
Kunstforeningens Edvard Munch udstilling, 1955
Edvard Munch, 1927
Höjdpunkter i norsk konst, 1968
Le symbolisme en Europe, 1976
Im Lichte des Nordens. Skandinavische Malerei um die Jahrhundertwende, 1986 - 1987
Dreams of a summer night. Scandinavian painting at the turn of the century, 1986
Northern light. Realism and symbolism in Scandinavian painting, 1983
Edvard Munch. The Frieze of Life, 1993
Munch 150, 2013
La biennale di Venezia, 1954
Edvard Munch, 1896
Eduard Munch Gemälde-Ausstellung, 1893
Edvard Munch, 1927
Les sources du XXe siècle. Les arts en Europe 1884 à1914, 1960 - 1961
Le symbolisme en Europe, 1976
Northern light. Realism and symbolism in Scandinavian painting, 1982
Det magiske nord. Finsk og norsk kunst rundt 1900 (Hovedtittel/ anvendt/ Norsk), 2015
Den Norske Kunst-udstilling, 1915
Edvard Munch, 1958 - 1959
Edvard Munch 1863-1944, 1974
Nordiske stemninger. Nordisk maleri ved århundreskiftet, 1987
The Art of Norway 1750-1914, 1979
The Art of Norway 1750-1914, 1978 - 1979
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Børre Høstland/Lathion, Jacques/Jacques Lathion