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Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' is an icon of modern art and one of the world's most recognisable paintings.

Edvard Munch, 'The Scream', 1893, National Museum of Art and Design, Oslo. Photo credit: Nasjonalmuseet/Borre Hostland

'I was walking along the road with two friends - then the sun went down - the sky suddenly turned to blood and I felt a great scream in nature'- Edvard Munch.

'We want to create, or at least lay the foundations of, an art that gives something to humanity. An art that arrests and engages. An art created of one’s innermost heart.'- Edvard Munch.

Munch created four versions of the same scene in different media, depicting an isolated figure with an agonised expression set against a tumultous blood orange sky. Munch's expressive use of colour, dramatic diagonals and flowing lines visually illustrates his modern existential angst. Our eye is drawn to the ambiguous and distrubing central figure; its hands are held to its head and its mouth is wide open in a silent scream that is reinforced in the undulating movement of the landscape. 

Munch's landscape is radically simplified yet remains recognisable, depicting the Kristiania Fjord seen from Ekeberg. He also includes strolling figures who are widely believed to be two of Munch's friends. First exhibited in 1893, the painting formed part of 'The Frieze of Life', which was an ambitious series that explored Munch's preoccupation with sexuality and mortality. 

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