In the winter of 1911-12 Munch painted a number of wooded landscapes with logs as their main motif. He was especially preoccupied with woodland motifs which showed signs of human activity, such as here in The Yellow Log.
Munch’s love of dramatic perspectives is obvious in this picture. He has painted a log lying slanting in the forest. By following the line of the log up through the picture, our eye is drawn deep into the pine woods, where it is caught up in a vertical tree trunk.
Munch uses this exaggerated perspective to create an impression of movement. The yellow log changes direction depending on where you stand in relation to the picture. If you stand to the left it seems as if the log slopes into the picture from that side. If you stand to the right, you “see” the opposite.
If you walk back and forth in front of the painting and let your eyes wander among the tree trunks, you will discover three-dimensional effects in other parts of the picture.
The complementary colours yellow and purple, which are in strong contrast with each other, serve to accentuate the illusion of movement.