The (False) Vampire

Edvard Munch did not call this painting “The Vampire”, but somebody else did (I think it was a critic / friend of his, though I have not got my Munch book with me right now). I don’t know why people still call it The Vampire, maybe it is because of the whole emo-vampire lame books and movies that pollute our World (I am not including the  Swedish “Let the right one in” in this list, since that movie is awesome). I think he called this one “Love and Pain”, though to be fair he did not dislike the vampire interpretation of his friend.

This is what Munch said about this painting in a diary (I got the text from here, though I am almost sure it is slightly different from the one I have in my book about Munch):

He laid his head against her breast – he could feel the blood coursing through her veins – he listened to her heartbeat – he felt two burning lips on his neck – it sent a shudder through him – a shiver of desire – so that he clasped her tightly to him.

Munch used to say that it was just a painting about a woman kissing a man. Maybe it was “just” about that, but as is often the case with Munch, the scene looks rather disturbing.

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6 thoughts on “The (False) Vampire

  1. Nice post!
    please forgive me and allow me to disagree with you: it seems to me that their embrace is not disturbing at all, rather tender… even cute 🙂

    • No problem with disagreeing! The way the guy is reclining and the way she embraces him seems almost painful or oppressing to me. Back in the time when this was displayed some people were rather shocked by it and (as it is the case with most paintings) interpretations abound. Some people thought it depicted the painter visiting prostitutes and other people saw it as the woman “taking possession” of the man. Your interpretation is perfectly valid and if Munch meant what he said (“it is just about a woman kissing a man in the neck”) then your view may be closer to what he actually wanted to convey

    • Interesting. Maybe if I did not know it was from Munch I would see this painting differently. Knowing how dark and even desperate most of his paintings are probably biases me to think this one is oppressive too.

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