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Puberty – Edvard Munch

Munch’s painting Puberty depicts a young naked girl sitting on the edge of a bed. Her legs are pressed together. She holds her hands in front of her body; one lies between her knees, while the other rests on her right thigh. She stares straight ahead with eyes wide open. Her mouth is closed and her long hair hangs down over the shoulders. The light enters from the left, and behind her a dark, ominous shadow is visible. The motif is often regarded as a symbol of anxiety and fear, a young girl’s awakening sexuality and the changes a young person experiences physically and psychologically on the path towards adulthood.
Munch gave a number of titles to various versions of the motif, originally The Young Model, later Puberty, and still later At Night. “The image can thus sustain various interpretations, from a view of a model by an artist to an evocation of nocturnal sensual pleasures and terrors.”

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