© The Munch Museum / The Munch Ellingsen Group / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2013
Oil on canvas
Inv. No. LG 19 (On loan from a private collection)
85 × 130 cm
Munch, a Norwegian, devoted his oeuvre to the expressive depiction of emotions: love and fear, loneliness, melancholy and death are the central motifs. With this composition, which he executed in numerous variations and media from 1891/92 until well into the 1930s, Munch revealed one of the most intimate aspects of his psyche. He attempted to come to terms with his personal experience of jealousy in a ménage à trois by condensing it in a motif of virtually metaphorical character. The problematic relationship between man and woman is a recurring theme for this artist, who never married and apparently never got over two unhappy romantic liaisons. In Jealousy, he links innocence and sin in the woman, who, dressed in virginal white, has her hands clasped behind her hair in a gesture of self-offering. The two men are “green” with jealousy. Rivals, they are separated from one another by the woman’s body, the cause and object of their desire. Although Munch gained a reputation as an epoch-making innovator at an early stage, his relationship to his profession was ridden by crises and self-doubt until the end of his life.