Childhood drawings

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Childhood drawings

Drawings and watercolours of buildings make up a substantial part of Munch’s early drawings. These studies are often executed with a gentle touch and great precision, as demonstrated in Sundvollen (MM.T.00119-15-recto). The surrounding nature may also play a central part, as in Landscape with Man and House (MM.T.00057) and The Maridal Ruins (MM.T.00119-04). Best known among his early drawings of buildings are his numerous studies of Old Aker Church (e.g. MM.T.02615). His first oil painting (PE.M.00582) was later based on these drawings.

Interiors also formed an important part of the hopeful artist’s repertoire. Above all, they were always at hand. There are several depictions of his family’s different flats, the doctor’s cabin at Gardermoen, as well as historical buildings, based on illustrations from books. Of particular interest are interiors from family flats which later resurfaced in self-biographical motifs, such as The Son (MM.T.00300) and Death in the Sickroom (MM.T.02380).

Andreas on the Sofa (MM.T.02569) and Edvard’s portraits of his sisters Inger and Laura (MM.T.02281-recto) are, together with the interiors, motifs from the artist’s close surroundings. He has worked hard to capture the situation as well as the sitters’ personality. There are many examples of such realistic studies of people engaged in varied activities – some even with a humorous touch, not to mention pure caricatures. He was both artist and author of a series of illustrated jokes, which he later had printed in a leaflet intended for sale.

The young Munch’s desire to illustrate stories and give visual shape to other people’s ideas was strong, and among his childhood drawings are illustrations ranging from Ibsen’s The Pretenders to popular “Wild West” pocket books (MM.T.02595-1). His fascination for Ibsen’s plays and his illustrations and adaptations of them gradually became a life-long project.

In addition to his different artistic projects, Munch worked diligently on improving his skills as a draughtsman. Detailed studies of objects such as drawing tools, coins, and keys testify to energetic and disciplined work (MM.T.02566).