Paintings > Puberty
Oil on canvas
151.5 x 110 cm
You people have WAY OVER analyzed this wonderful painting. Munch simply painted
a model who just happened to be a lovely young model who just happened to be
shy and who just happened to not want to pose spread eagle.
Hank wrote on
Sep 1, 2001:
I think the idea that this is a painting of a girl about to be sexually assaulted
is ridiculous and shows a distinct lack of knowledge about Munch's life and concerns.
He never showed the male overpowering the female; in fact, he was much more concerned
with the dual predatory & life-giving nature of woman. He shows this young girl
on the edge of becoming a woman, and shows her anxiety about the way this will
change her life. The ominous hues and shadowing to this picture are to symbolize
adulthood and sexual maturity looming large over the spirit of the child. She
attempts to hide her body, which is quickly changing into that of the archetype"Woman",
which appears again and again in an ambiguous desired/feared status throughout
Munch's work (i.e. Madonna, Vampire).
In fact, Munch was much more concerned with the effect the union of a man and
woman would have on the man, showing the woman as a creature that devours man's
spirit (as in The Kiss). As far as I know, he
never attempted to portray men as the predators, but instead as victims. I certainly
do not think he intended to imply that this painting was a rape scene, but instead
simply another stage in the development of the life cycle of a woman.
wrote on Jul 15, 2001:
I think that in this picture describes the anxiety of growing up, the
body changes and her thoughts are changing too. She is becoming a woman.
The fear of change is expressed through the shadow behind her back.
She is naked, and she knows for the first time her sensuality. She is
trying to cover her body with her arms to defend her innocence but growing
up doesn't depend on her.
John wrote on
Mar 20, 2001:
This piece displays Munch's sexual intrigue. He is a celibate individual
and believes that sex is a matter of the male mantis overcoming the
female mantis. This painting obviously displays a girl that is about
to become sexually assaulted. She is scared, and covers herself with
her arms. The shadows and the ominous hues used in the painting back
this theory. Munch added a vicious twist with the title, implying that
the girl is ready sexually in a physical aspect but not in a mental
aspect, but is anyone?
Jill wrote on
Jan 19, 2001:
I think in this picture Munch has captured the true feeling of a girl
who has just discovered her body and what it is capable of doing without
her control. I think it has frightened her and she is innocent and has
no clue to what is going on, there is even a feeling of embarrassment
from this painting.
Edvard Munch: The Frieze of