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.


  • Title: Self-Portrait
  • Creator: Edvard Munch
  • Creator Lifespan: 1863-12-12/1944-01-23
  • Creator Nationality: Norwegian
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Jarlsborgveien 14, Oslo. Norway
  • Creator Birth Place: Løten, Hedmark. Norway
  • Date Created: 1895
  • Physical Dimensions: w314 x h458 mm
  • Type: Lithograph
  • Rights: © Munch-museet/Munch -Ellingsen Gruppen/Bono

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