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from the October 2011 issue


marie curie and edvard munch lived in paris at around the same time

munch was interested in new discoveries and went to visit
the curies’ research laboratory on rue lhomond in the fifth arrondissement

marie was alone there and showed the painter how she and pierre
wrestled with radium, and then gave  him afternoon tea

in the lithograph  munch sent her as a thank you present
the woman scientist  sits among the equipment with her hand under her cheek

the angle of vision is oblique and in the bottom right hand corner you can see
the back of pierre’s neck as he sits at his desk writing in a book

marie curie looks into the light and has the same hairstyle as
edvard munch’s sister in the painting “death at the sickbed”

the picture has been lost—to dream it predicts the dreamer’s death

© Sjón. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2011 by David McDuff. All rights reserved.

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