Speaker Series | Allison Morehead "When We Nurses Awaken: Edvard Munch and New Medical Women"

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Edvard Munch's numerous depictions of nurses - paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs - are haunted by the themes of Henrik Ibsen's last play, When We Dead Awaken, which the radical lesbian feminist author Adrienne Rich memorably described as about "the use that the male artist and thinker - in the process of creating culture as we know it - has made of women, in his life and in his work; and about a woman's slow, struggling awakening to the use to which her life has been put." This paper delves not only into Munch's representations of nurses, but also into how nurses posed for, interacted with, and represented themselves to Munch in ways that speak to the fraught nature of their professional entrance into the fraternity of medicine.