Self-portrait with skeleton arm

Edvard Munch1895

British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

This is one of the first lithographs that Munch (1863-1944) made in Berlin in 1895. The basic design is drawn in lithographic chalk, over which a thick ink wash has been brushed to create a solid black. In this it gives an immediate impression of a woodcut more than a lithograph.The bones at the bottom of the picture are a 'memento mori', or a reminder of death, and appear as if they were his own arm leaning on the picture's frame. The whole composition takes the form of a sepulchral tablet.'I was born dying', Munch claimed as an old man. 'Sickness, insanity and death were the dark angels standing guard at my cradle and they have followed me throughout my life'.Some years later, probably after 1900, when reprinting this lithograph, Munch blacked out the arm and his name.


  • Title: Self-portrait with skeleton arm
  • Creator: Edvard Munch
  • Date Created: 1895
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 450.00mm; Width: 320.00mm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Medium: Lithograph
  • Technique: lithograph
  • Registration number: 1949,0411.4872
  • Producer: Print made by Munch, Edvard
  • Material: paper
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Bequeathed by Dodgson, Campbell

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