Unrealistically frightening, ominous portrait of a man against the background of a blood-red sunset is perceived ambiguously by the public. His simplified forms, expressive grotesque lines for the painting of the late nineteenth century were a glaring fact. Academic art of that era assumed a sleek plot and realistic specifics, typical of the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, for example, or the Royal Academy of Painting in France.
They clearly followed the classic examples of art of the past centuries, whose timeless beauty and sunny carelessness were considered ideal for imitation.
Edvard Munk's worldview and perception of the surrounding world differed sharply from the classical canons. After going through a difficult, contradictory life path, Munch came to his own scale of values. Gradually, step by step, after the next blows received from life, the artist developed an expressive style of writing. In it, the emotional understanding of what is happening comes to the fore, putting the fine arts with their ideal external forms in the background.
Poor health (Munch had lung problems), love failures (an affair with a married coquette Millie Taulov), the death of loved ones (at the age of 5, he lost his mother, after the loss of his beloved sister Sophie, who was slowly dying of tuberculosis, then the death of his father) - all this influenced the manner of writing of the sensual artist. Gradually, he moves from the canonical images to the blatantly realistic ones, writing in his diary that instead of reading men and knitting women, real people should be depicted-breathing, loving and suffering.