Art History

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Scream Mystery Solved

The iconic painting The Scream has made headlines again. This time because a mystery has been solved. The Scream by Edvard Munch is one of the most recognizable paintings, yet there is much still unknown. Munch was a Norwegian expressionist painter that helped develop the German Expressionist movement. He often portrayed grief, pain, and illness in his pieces. Despite the dark subject matter, his works are very sought after. For instance, The Scream has been sold for over 100 million dollars.

The Theories

Most scholars think that Munch painted The Scream to represent the torment of the human condition. Munch has only said that he was inspired while walking along the water at sunset, but never the specific meaning behind the painting. Spectators have wondered what the creature in the painting could be or why he chose the cold red and orange colors he did. Four versions were created, two in pastel and two in paint.

Edvard Munch - The Scream - Scream Mystery

One of the painted versions hangs in the National Gallery of Norway and has held its own mystery for years. It had a pencil inscription written in the upper left corner that translated into “could only have been painted by a madman.” Originally it was thought to be a comment left by an anonymous art critic, but recent technology has given us a new answer. They have now been able to determine that the handwriting belongs to the artist himself.

Using new infrared technology to prevent any damage, they were able to get a clear image of the handwriting. Then they compared it to samples from Munch’s own personal diaries and letters. When they analyzed the two closely, they became certain the artist wrote the declaration on his own art piece. Another art mystery finally solved. If you enjoyed the scream mystery, browse more of Edvard Munch’s unique art pieces in the Edvard Munch art gallery.

Amanda Hadley

About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.