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How Are Tragedies and Emotions Expressed in Art?

When Edvard Munch became a victim of the Spanish-Flu pandemic, which claimed millions of lives worldwide during World War One, he created two self-portraits.

One - entitled “Self-Portrait Spanish Influenza” (from1919) - depicts an unwell man, but the second - “Self-Portrait After Spanish Influenza” - shows the ravages of illness.

Both are powerful displays of tragedy, coupled with physical and emotional effects of the dreaded disease. Munch used no flattering brush strokes to make himself look good.

Do you think that art can uniquely express illness, tragedies and emotions? Explain your answer.

Does it take an honest artist to be willing to capture how things really are, instead of how we wish them to be? Why, or why not?

Painting a portrait of an ill person is different from photographing the same ill person. Is there a difference, in expressing the truth, between a painting and a photo? If so, what is the difference?


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