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On Love and Pain

"The truth is, Munch did not title this painting "Vampire." He called it "Love and Pain" and it was only later that it picked up the name and interpretation of a man locked in a vampire's embrace. Munch maintained it was nothing more than a woman kissing a man on the neck. The Nazis declared it morally 'degenerate.' In the painting, we see a man in anguish, arms around his love, while she tries to comfort him. Perhaps she is laying her face on his shoulder even. Some thought it was about his visits to prostitutes, yet others saw it as some sort of macabre fantasy about the death of his favorite sister. Evidently Munch remained ambiguous about the deeper meaning behind it.

It was considered shocking when it was unveiled, somehow people saw sado-masochism in it. Maybe it's her loose red hair and red dress that mark her as a siren. The darkness surrounding them, and the man's own black clothing make her stand out all the more. But is it really shocking today?"

[source: edvardmunch.org]
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