Equivocal Bodies. Edvard Munch´s Feminine Bathers
Welcome to a lecture with the PhD Candidate MaryClaire Pappas with the theme Edvard Munch`s feminine bathers.
During his lifetime, the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch often spent time at spa towns in continental Europe including Monte Carlo on the French Riviera, the German spa towns of Bad Kösen and Warnemunde, and at home in Norway at Åsgardstrand and Kragerø. Reflecting the artist’s interest in both bathing, both as a medical practice and as a sport, the artist depicted both women and men bathing, both indoors and outdoors, in paintings, prints, and photography throughout his long career. While male bathers are more prominent throughout Munch’s oeuvre, Munch’s images of women bathers are particularly fascinating because many of the paintings and prints depict bodies that seem to resist a simple understanding of the bathers' bodies: the figures often oscillate between genders, resist gender norms of the day, or are equivocal in the representation of racial identity of the depicted bather. This discussion analyzes Munch’s feminine bathing scenes through the theme of ambiguity and volatility. Focusing on the social understanding of bathing spaces in the fin-de-siècle and the artist’s formal techniques in depicting the bathers, this talk sheds light on the implications of Munch's strange depictions, the bathing locale for the bather and places these bathers in conversation with the artist's larger oeuvre.
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The lecture will be held in English