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Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Scream

Last year when having a holiday in Oslo, Norway with my parents I found time to visit National Gallery of Norway. That was the first time I have seen one of the few modern art works instantly recognizable to the public and having acquired iconic status in the popular culture of the late 20th century. This painting was a work of Norwegian Symbolist painter, Edvard Munch (1863-1944). An important forerunner of expressionism, and best known for his series of expressionist paintings and prints entitled 'The Scream'. The Scream depicts an anguished figure against a backdrop of a fiery red sky and the Oslofjord. Munch painted this series in various media, including oil, tempera, and pastel and also created a lithograph in 1910. 

 In his diary headed 'Nice' (22.01.1892), Munch himself explained the inspiration for his painting, "I was walking along a path with two friends — the sun was setting — suddenly the sky turned blood red — I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence — there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city — my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety — and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature ". 

The central character has often been compared to an individual suffering from Depersonalization disorder, which includes a feeling of disorientation of one's self and the environment. Munch suffered from agoraphobia, or a fear of open spaces and public places, which might explain why the vast open space in the background gives the feeling of being overwhelming. Some even claim that 'The Scream' painting warned future generations of radioactive waste risks. Some state that it reflects fear of death

These series have been used in films, advertising and on television. One version of 'The Scream' is owned by the National Museum and two others by the Munch Museum, also in Oslo. The Scream series have also been targeted in several fairly recent art thefts, including when one was stolen for several months from the National Gallery of Norway in 1994 and again when another was taken for almost two years from the Munch Museum in 2004. 

Recently, I have seen interesting and funny in some way interpratations of 'The Scream' painting.

The original 'The Scream' by Edvard Munch
Interpratation of 'The Scream'
Interpratation of 'The Scream'
'The Scream' on cappuccino.

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