In this provocative image, Munch again uses the monochrome to present a generalization and symbolism of a subject which has roots in classical mythology, Christian iconography and in several literary works. Rather than depict the three different ages or phases of a woman’s life, instead he is aiming at different roles, psychological and otherwise, that a woman could assume. The figure on the left is presumably a nun, blending almost entirely into the background; the woman in the middle represents sexuality, fecundity and sheer enjoyment of life and her surroundings; the figure on the right is spiritual and contemplative, set against a light background.
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