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Art and Images in Psychiatry
January 2004

Anxiety (Angst)

Author Affiliations


Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004;61(1):15-16. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.61.1.15

Sickness, insanity and death were the dark angels standing guard at my cradle and they have followed me throughout my life.

— Edvard Munch, age 70 years1(p31)

BORN IN LØTEN, NORWAY, EDVARD MUNCH (1863-1944) was the firstScandinavian painter to establish an international reputation. His artisticcreativity spanned more than 6 decades. During those years, he establishedhis reputation as a portraitist and landscape painter and painstakingly exploredthe human passions. Munch strongly influenced the development of German Expressionism.His life was filled with separation and loss, and these experiences are reflectedin his art. The second of 5 children, he was traumatized by the death of hismother when he was 5 years of age and that of his 15-year-old sister, Sophie,at age 14 years. Both died of tuberculosis, a disease he contracted as a teenagerbut survived.2 Despite being descended froma prominent Norwegian lineage, his family was relatively impoverished andlived in tenement houses in the workers' suburb of Oslo, where they were exposedto tuberculosis.