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The Scream is Fading and Giving Us More to Study

The Scream is one of Edvard Munch’s most iconic paintings. It is considered a quintessential piece of the Modern Expressionist movement. It symbolizes the bleak anxiety of life and the darkness of the human condition. The piece was created using oil pastels in vibrant warm tones, contrasted against dark cool tones to elicit the emotions of the audience. The painter found his inspiration while watching the colors of a sunset as it transitioned from day into night and drew a correlation to the transition of life.

Munch’s use of bold colors, especially the warm orange and red tones, is an element of his ties to the Expressionists and a key component of the work. Unfortunately, those colors have begun to turn white over time, prompting art preservationists to begin testing the paints to try and uncover the reason. The process began in 2012 using x-rays, lasers, and electron microscopes to learn as much possible.

Some of the common colors used by many artists in the 19th century include cadmium yellow, vermilion, ultramarine, and viridian. We are now learning how time can create a breakdown in the composition of these common paints. Cadmium yellow seems to be the one that changes most drastically over time. Munch is not the only old master to have his art effected by time. Yellow has proven to be an issue in the works of Henry Matisse. Vincent van Gogh’s yellows have turned brown and his purples turned blue!

Even though these masterful originals might be suffering under the test of time, you can purchase a brilliant reproduction that matches the bold colors of every original. Each painting is hand painted, so that you can see the detailed brush strokes, and is created with only quality, modern materials. They will last for generations as a unique accent in your home. You can find The Scream and so much more in our Edvard Munch 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.