The lithograph Self-Portrait with Skeleton Arm from 1895 is Munch�s first graphical self-portrait. With its strong contrasts between black and white and presence and absence it is a powerful and ambivalent expression of the artist�s personality. His face is rendered in great detail and evokes a feeling of a strong presence. His body is hidden in the shadow and implies an absence.
With its symbolist frame the motif creates associations to an epitaph or a tombstone. At the top of the motif we can see the inscription Edvard Munch and the year 1895. The year is followed by a hyphen, but the year of death is unknown. At the bottom of the motif a skeleton arm functions as a classical memento mori � remember that you will die.