Vampire by Edvard Munch, 1894

One of the most sensational and shocking images in European art, Edvard Munch's painting of a man locked in a vampire's tortured embrace her molten-red hair running along his soft bare skin created an instant outcry when unveiled a century ago.

Some believed the Norwegian artist's anguished 1894 masterpiece, Love and Pain since known as Vampire to be a reference to his illicit visits to prostitutes; others interpreted it as a macabre fantasy about the death of his favourite sister. Some years later, Nazi Germany condemned it as morally "degenerate".

Vampire has become one of Munch's most sought-after and reproduced images, despite remaining in the hands of a private collector for the past 70 years.

historical vampire art Vampire by Edvard Munch

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