The model for the hunched-up figure was Munch's friend Jappe Nilssen, who, that summer was suffering pangs of jealousy in a threesome relationship with Christian Krogh and his wife Oda Krogh.
By executing the motif as a woodcut, Munch was able to make a further simplification and concentration of expression in the picture. The motif is made from two wood blocks sawn in two. The grain of the wood is used as an important element in the composition. The first plate has horizontal year-rings, whereas the overlying plate has strong vertical year-rings.
In connection with an exhibition in Berlin in 1902, Munch was worried that his woodcut blocks had been lost. He therefore cut a new version of Melancholy, this time without reversing the image, which was his usual method.
P.S. Munch loved to paint during white Scandinavian nights because of the unique light- see a selection of his summer night paintings here <3