The Scream by Edvard Munch
By Kinjal Trivedi
The Scream by Edvard Munch
Painting: The Scream
Artist: Edvard Munch
Medium: Oil, tempera, pastel and crayon on cardboard.
Dimensions: 91 cm × 73.5 cm (36 in × 28.9 in)
Location: Natuonal Gallery and Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway
The Scream is the popular name given to a composition created by Norwegian Expressionist artist Edvard Munch in 1893.
It is said that Munch was one day walking on a bridge overlooking Oslo during sunset and he saw the sky turn into a beautiful magnificent red. To Munch’s understanding, in the sky there was an “infinite scream passing through nature”.
He maybe be upset about his sister’s commitment at a nearby lunatic asylum.
He perceived the sky to have a natural ‘shriek’ and horror to it. At that moment he painted two paintings on cardboard and made two drawings on cardboard with crayons.
The two paintings were stolen from him soon after, but since recovered.
In Edvard Munch’s words, “One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.”
This painting has a lot of lines in perspective. The lines of the sky has many shades of reds and oranges in heavy curves. As if the frequency is going away and inwards to the painting. The waves like light are traveling from far right to far left where the figure is connected with the perspective of the wooden bridge he is standing on.
The Scream has been stolen many times since 1910. One of the examples is:
On 12 February 1994, the same day as the opening of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, two men broke into the National Gallery, Oslo, and stole its version of The Scream, leaving a note reading “Thanks for the poor security”.
The 1895 pastel-on-board version of the work, owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, at Sotheby’s in London for a record price of nearly US$ 120 million on 2 May 2012.
The bidding started at $40 million and lasted for over 12 minutes when American businessman Leon Black by phone gave the final offer of US$119,922,500, including the buyer’s premium. Sotheby’s said the work was the most colorful and vibrant of the four versions painted by Munch and the only version whose frame was hand-painted by the artist to include his poem, detailing the work’s inspiration. After the sale, Sotheby’s auctioneer Tobias Meyer said the work was “worth every penny”, adding: “It is one of the great icons of art in the world and whoever bought it should be congratulated.”
This painting although has a psychological meaning to it from the artists point of view. It has been extremely inviting for investors to possess this meaning and technique of painting.