Edvard Munch, Vincent van Gogh, and Henrik Ibsen

It was a grey, wet morning and I didn’t think we’d leave the cabin today, but I’m glad we did. One bus and one subway and voila, the Munch-museet. The line to get into the museum was long and slow. I thought maybe it was the popularity of the exhibition Van Gogh + Munch, but then we realized that the hold-up was a thorough security check between ticketing and the entrance proper. I’ve never been through a metal detector to get into a museum! Has there been an incident there in the past that spurred this? I don’t mind; as a museum employee myself I do understand the need for vigilance in protecting the art. Thankfully, the cafe sold us coffee to savor while we waited in line.

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The exhibition was an interesting juxtaposition of the lives and work of two enigmatic painters. I am not sure why Munch is best known for Skrit (The Scream) as he was a proific artist who worked in a number of styles over the years. I love seeing van Gogh’s early drawings and studies. I think it is sometimes forgotten what a good draughtsman he was and the sombre nature of his work prior to his time in sunny France.

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After a rather expensive lunch in the touristy area around the Nationaltheatret (National Theater) and a walk past the Oslo Konserthus (Concert House; closed for the summer), we made it to the Ibsen Museet, which includes an interestingly modern adaptation of a historic space for museum exhibitions and a tour of the restored apartment upstairs where Henrik Ibsen spent the last years of his life and wrote his last 2 plays. The rotating exhibition space  was titled Ibsen + Lennon, showcasing Ibsen’s influence on The Beatles, John Lennon in particular (including his round eye glasses and mutton chop sideburns).

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And when we left, it was still grey and wet outside. Ah, summer in Oslo!

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