In the painting On the Sofa from 1913 a young woman lies stretched out on a blue-green sofa. She is wearing a red dress and dark shoes or boots, and her long auburn hair is spread out. The woman is placed in an inclined position in relation to the observer. Her legs and feet are large whilst her upper body and head, farthest away from the observer, are somewhat smaller. Her posture looks both strange and uncomfortable. The positioning of the arms and feet is anatomically incorrect.

Apart from the position of the woman inwards into the picture there is little to give us any impression of perspective.

The sofa takes up much of the surface of the picture. To the left the forms are suggested relatively clearly, but to the right everything is a blur of rapid brush-strokes in blue and green. In Munch’s pictures red often indicates love. Especially red dresses and red hair suggest strong, outgoing, liberated and sensual women. Such perspectives are not very fruitful in a motif like this one, which must be seen more as a study of colour where formal aspects such as brushstrokes and colour are of primary importance, though we can sense a clearly erotic undertone to the picture.


  • Title: On the Sofa
  • Date Created: 1913
  • Physical Dimensions: w1500 x h800 mm
  • Painter: Edvard Munch
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: © Munch-museet/Munch -Ellingsen Gruppen/Bono

Additional Items

On the Sofa (Supplemental)

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