Munch was strongly influenced by the work of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, in particular by these artists’ use of color and form to express intense personal meaning. In the late 1880s, Munch conceived an epic series of paintings entitled The Frieze of Life, which dealt poetically and symbolically with life, love, and death. Many of his most memorable images were part of this ultimately unfinished project. Summer Night’s Dream, the first work in the cycle of Love, portrays the initial glimmer of adolescent sexual awakening. Bathed in an eerie light, the painting is probably set in the Borre Forest, a traditional place of courtship during Norway’s long midsummer nights.