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A Psychoanalytical Study on the Life and Works of Munch
Psychoanal 1999;10:121-140
Published online June 30, 1999
© 1999 Korean Association of Psychoanalysis.

Byung-Wook Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

Department of Neuro-Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Seoul,
Edvard Munch is a famous Norwegian artist of Western painting. He had an
influence on German expressionist movement. This movement developed early in the
20th century, and seeks to present the inner life of humanity rather than its outward
Munch emphasized the subjectivity in his work, and externalized human emotions
to the extreme. But he was suffered from alcoholism, depression, phobia, paranoid
condition, and treated by a Danish psychiatrist. He was unhappy, gloomy and alone
throughout his life. His consistent psychopathology was revealed into his great works,
and originated in his early childhood psychic trauma induced by loss of his sick
mother and elder sister. Munch’ mourning reaction continued all his life, but he
sought to rescue himself by sublimatory his own creative work. Munch’s painting was
the result from his mental pain. He expressed directly his own fear, anxiety, depression
including humility and paranoid ideation toward women and sexuality. Even though
he was a tragic single man, Munch is now much spoken of an exceptional successful
artist in Western painting.

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