Art: The Black Angels

"Disease and insanity were the black angels on guard at my cradle," wrote Norway's greatest painter, Edvard Munch, recalling his tormented, sickly childhood. His mother died when he was four, and his physician father became a kind of fanatic, "with periods of religious anxiety which could reach the borders of insanity as he paced back and forth in his room praying to God. When he punished us, he could be almost insane in his violence." The black angels hovered over Munch (pronounced Moonk) to his death in 1944 —and they helped inspire some of the world's most chilling prints and...

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