The University of Kristiania celebrated its 100th year in 1911, and in connection with the jubilee a large festival hall was built. The walls were to be decorated with large paintings and a competition was held to decide who should do the decorations.
After many years abroad Munch moved back to Oslo in 1909. At first he settled in Kragerø where he immediately started work on an outline to be considered in the competition.
Not everyone agreed that Munch’s suggestion was the best. But in the end he won, and the decorations were completed in 1916.
In his work on the decorations he found his inspiration in the landscape around Kragerø We can see new tendencies in his way of painting. The composition of the pictures is simple and harmonious, and the bush-strokes bold and full of vitality.
The central picture in the hall is The Sun.
The Munch Museum has several large preliminary studies for the motif, including this one from 1910-11. It is a large and powerful composition, with the sun throwing out rays of light in every direction.
Munch has built up the picture around the sun’s circular movements, and there is a feeling of movement back and forth in the picture. The eye of the observer is drawn towards the sun as if through a shaft, at the same time as the sun casts this movement back, in an unending dynamic movement