(b Løten, 12 Dec. 1863; d Oslo, 23 Jan. 1944). Norwegian painter and printmaker, his country's greatest artist. He began painting in a conventional naturalistic manner, but by 1884 he was part of the world of bohemian artists and writers in Christiania (now Oslo) who outraged bourgeois society with their advocacy of sexual as well as artistic freedom; Christian Krohg, who gave him informal tuition, was in particular his early mentor. In 1885 he made the first of several visits to Paris, where he was influenced by the Impressionists and Symbolists and, above all, by Gauguin's use of simplified forms and non-naturalistic colours. Soon after his return he painted the first work in which he showed a distinctly personal vision, The Sick Child (1885–6, NG, Oslo). The choice of subject was highly significant, for it reflected his own traumatic childhood (his mother and eldest sister died of consumption when he was young, and as a result his grief-stricken father became almost dementedly pious). ‘Illness, madness, and death were the black angels that kept watch over my cradle’, he wrote, and in his paintings he gave expression to the neuroses that haunted him. Certain themes—jealousy, sickness, the awakening of sexual desire—occur again and again, and he painted extreme psychological states with an unprecedented conviction and an intensity that sometimes bordered on the frenzied.In 1892 Munch was invited to exhibit at the Verein Berliner Künstler (Association of Berlin Artists) and his work caused such an uproar in the press that the exhibition was closed.