The Scream By Edvard Munch [Style, Meaning, & Analysis]
The Scream by Edvard Munch is perhaps Munch's most famous painting and is generally considered to be the precursor to the Expressionist movement.
The swirling brushstrokes emphasize Munch's internal state, while the linearity of the composition is offset by strong curvilinear lines.
The Scream is a powerful portrayal of a very personal experience. It has become one of the most popular works of art of the 20th century, and its popularity makes it worth viewing for anyone interested in modern art.
The Scream is often called Munch's "masterpiece" because of its universal appeal. The Scream was first exhibited in a solo exhibition of Munch's work in Berlin in 1893.
It was later purchased by Norwegian industrialist Olaf Schou, who donated it to the Norway National Museum in 1910. Munch painted four different versions of The Scream. The four versions all share the same basic composition and convey the same personal pain.
The Scream's Meaning
The Scream By Edvard Munch was created after an incident on a bridge in 1884 when Edvard Munch was struck by a wave of anxiety.
The painting depicts a figure on the bridge who is writhing in terror, while two figures - possibly his friends - stand in the background.
It is not clear how Munch came up with this image, but the underlying message is the same: the human condition has an important role in human life.
The red scream in The Scream is a reference to the Krakatoa volcano eruption that occurred in August 1883. Aside from a tsunami, the volcano's eruption caused a deafening noise that was heard thousands of miles away.
In addition, millions of particles of volcanic ash were scattered throughout the atmosphere, affecting the northern regions of Europe, Norway, and the whole of Scandinavia.
A classic example of an existential nightmare, The Scream reflects this mood in a contemporary context.
The Scream brought a new openness in terms of emotional freedom, and this image of inner darkness has remained popular for a century after its creation.
Whether hanging in a museum or on the bedroom door, the Scream captures the emotional spectrum. It also speaks volumes about the power of art.
Edvard Munch’s quote from his diary:
“I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun went down – I felt a gust of melancholy – suddenly the sky turned a bloody red. I stopped, leaned against the railing, tired to death – as the flaming skies hung like blood and sword over the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends went on – I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I felt a vast infinite scream through nature.”
The Scream's Inspiration & Artistic Style
Whether you're a fan of the Norwegian master's art or not, you've probably wondered where he found his inspiration for The Scream.
Edvard Munch found his inspiration to paint The Scream in a landscape near Oslo. In 1893, Munch created his first version of The Scream and completed the final version in 1910.
In his book published in 1900, he described how he almost went insane. In the painting, the unidentified figure is left to his depressive thoughts. After he experienced a wave of anxiety, he decided to rest.
The Analysis of The Scream by Edvard Munch
There is an interesting relationship between the foreground and background figures in The Scream By Edvard Munch. One can read the implication that the lone female figure represents the frustration and sexual depression Munch suffered in his adolescence.
Another connection is with Munch's diary entry, which details the underlying struggle and anxiety that inspired the eerie, mysterious painting. A sense of balance is one of the most important aspects of the painting.
The black and grey of the foreground are offset by the rich red and orange of the background. The sweeping, chaotic lines of the landscape and sky are balanced by the straight, harsh lines of the bridge.
The eerie feeling that the viewer feels is reflected in the painting. In addition to expressing his inner world, The Scream is a metaphor for the inner life of Munch.
His work often expresses themes that surround him, including pain, death, and private emotions. The artist was a master of color and frequently used it to convey feeling and intensity.
The Stolen Story of The Scream
The Scream has been the target of two thefts. One was recovered after the painting was stolen, while the other two paintings were later sold. In 2012, a pastel version of the painting was sold for US$120 million.
Some theories explain how the paintings were stolen, but the truth is likely more complicated.
The 1910 version of The Scream was stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo. Despite the crime, the painting was returned within three months. Then in 2004, gunmen broke into the Munch Museum and stole the paintings.
The art world took notice. The Norwegian police had a reward offered for the return of the masterpiece. The art experts worried that the stolen work would damage the art piece.
A ransom note demanding $1 million was later discovered. In a sad twist, the thieves left behind a dead police officer.
The paintings were returned to the museum in 2006, but the police never released the method of their recovery. The museum has never explained why the painting was stolen.
The Scream's Impact on Society
The Scream has become an icon for activism. Its use has inspired a variety of art projects, ranging from environmental awareness to nuclear proliferation and climate change.
In addition to using "The Scream" to promote environmental awareness, emoji versions of the famous painting have also become popular.
Many versions of the Scream have emerged online, some with face masks and coronavirus eyes.
Other emoji have been created, depicting individuals fleeing the city or financial institutions and hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
How Edvard Munch's The Scream Became an Icon
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