Edvard Munch (1863–1944): The Scream, 1893, Tempera on

Edvard Munch (1863–1944): The Scream, 1893, Tempera on

1/14/2021, 5:06:51 PM
Edvard Munch (1863–1944): The Scream, 1893, Tempera on cardboard, 73.5 x 91 cm, Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo 'The Scream' is one of the most well-known pictures in the history of art, and has become a popular icon of our time. The figure in the picture has been used in many different contexts, and appears in everything from political posters to horror films. It even has its own emoji. 'The Scream' is both simple and complex. It is complex because it lends itself to so many different interpretations. Its simplicity has to do with the actual execution of the picture. We know that Munch drew sketches and worked with the motif over a long period of time, but the painting technique and lack of detail give the impression that it was painted quickly and spontaneously. This approach, along with the vibrant, non-realistic colours, signified a new way of creating art. The Scream marks a decisive point in art history where form and content are closely interrelated and are meant to express the same subject matter. The work is a key turning point from the symbolism movement in art to the expressionism of the 1900s. The setting of the painting was suggested to the artist by a walk along a road overlooking the city of Oslo, apparently upon Munch's arrival at, or departure from, a mental hospital where his sister, Laura Catherine, had been interned. It is unknown whether the artist observed an actual person in anguish, but this seems unlikely; as Munch later recalled, "I was walking down the road with two friends when the sun set; suddenly, the sky turned as red as blood. I stopped and leaned against the fence ... shivering with fear. Then I heard the enormous, infinite scream of nature." (by Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo)

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