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“Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche” by Edvard Munch

"Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche" by Edvard Munch

“Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche” by Edvard Munch

This “Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche” by Edvard Munch was painted just six years after the philosopher’s death.

The artist and philosopher never met, but Munch was a devoted admirer of Nietzsche, and he created this famous artistic interpretation of the philosopher’s spirit and ideas.

Munch had a shared spiritual kinship with Nietzsche. Both suffered from loneliness and a fear of madness.

Edvard Munch, who had read much of Nietzsche’s work, invested much of his spirit in this Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche.

Art and Philosophy was a favorite theme of discussion for nineteenth-century French and German thinkers at the time this portrait was created.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) was a German philosopher, composer, poet, Latin, and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on modern intellectual history.

He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. He became the youngest ever to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel at the age of 24.

Nietzsche resigned due to health problems, and he completed much of his core writing in the following decade.

In 1889 at age 44, he suffered a collapse and, afterward, a complete loss of his mental faculties. He lived his remaining years in the care of his family and died in 1900.

Nietzsche’s work touched a wide range of topics, including art, history, religion, tragedy, culture, and science.

His early inspiration was drawn from figures such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Richard Wagner, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

After his death, his sister became the curator and editor of Nietzsche’s manuscripts, reworking his unpublished writings to fit her German nationalist ideology.

She often contradicted and obfuscated Nietzsche’s stated opinions. He had explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism.

Through her published editions, Nietzsche’s work became associated with fascism and Nazism. 20th-century scholars contested this interpretation of his work, and corrected versions of his writings were soon made available.

Nietzsche’s thought enjoyed renewed popularity in the 1960s. His ideas have since had an influential impact on 20th and early-21st-century thinkers across philosophy, as well as art, literature, psychology, politics, and popular culture.

Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch (1863–1944) was a Norwegian painter and printmaker whose evocative treatment of psychological themes built upon Symbolism and greatly influenced German Expressionism in the early 20th century.

His best-known work is The Scream. The Scream has been imitated, parodied, and following its copyright expiration outright copied, which led to its highly recognizable status in popular culture.

The image has used in the promotion of books, music, movies, music, clothing, cultural events, and pop culture merchandise.

Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Title:                  Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Artist:                 Edvard Munch
  • Created:            1906
  • Material:            oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:       Height: 201 cm (79.1 ″); Width: 160 cm (62.9 ″)
  • Type:                  Portrait
  • Museum:           Thiel Gallery Blue

Edvard Munch

Exploring the Art of Philosophy

Edvard Munch: The Life of an Artist


Friedrich Nietzsche Quotes


“Without music, life would be a mistake.”

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”


“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”


“He or she who has a why to live, can bear almost anyhow.”

“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”


“There are no facts, only interpretations.”

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

“When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”


Friedrich Nietzsche and the Artists of the New Weimar

Friedrich Nietzsche “Without music life would be a mistake.”


“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche


Photo Credit: Edvard Munch [Public domain]

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