Edvard Munch’s 1894 painting “Ripening” shows a naked teenage girl sitting on an unmade bed in the corner of a room. The composition of the picture is based on the opposition of the vertical figure of the girl and the horizontal of the bed. The light source is located in the front left, and a wide dark shadow falls on the wall, further emphasizing the almost painful fragility and thinness of the naked model. During Munch’s work on this painting, images of young models became fashionable, leaving a smack of slight obscenity, but the fragile silhouette of the girl, coupled with an ominous shadow, completely excludes such interpretations of this picture.
The huge black shadow symbolizes the memory of the past and the memory of death that haunted Munch all his life. And depicted in the picture, she predicts an ominous future for the girl. Maturation is a complex process, the transition from childhood to maturity. In the girl’s pose, one can read the sexuality that begins to wake up and, at the same time, the fear of her: this is indicated by the model’s wide open eyes and hands, with which she tries to protect herself from something unknown to her, but frightening. On the canvas “Ripening”, Munch managed to combine sexuality and fear.
Year of painting: 1894.
Dimensions of the painting: 151.5 x 110 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Gallery: National Gallery, Oslo, Norway.