Most people are familiar with Edvard Munch through his classic work The Scream. What some may not be familiar with is the fact that Munch dealt with themes of depression, anxiety, and obsession with mortality in many of his works.
Munch, in fact, spoke about the tricky act of navigating art and mental illness:
“Without anxiety and illness, I am a ship without a rudder… My sufferings are part of my self and my art. They are indistinguishable from me, and their destruction would destroy my art.”
These motifs informed his practice, as evident in his 1895 work Self Portrait with Skeleton Arm. Here, Munch provides an example of an individual using his mental illness to fuel his creativity and understand his world.