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The Scream

The Scream by Edvard Munch
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Artist: Edvard Munch    Image Code: V03773

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  • Artist: Edvard Munch

    Edvard Munch (December 12, 1863-January 23, 1944) is one of the most important figures in the development of modern painting. Born in Norway, Munch’s evocative and emotionally tumultuous work is often associated with the birth of Symbolism at the end of the nineteenth century, as well as considered to be an antecedent of the development of Expressionism, a major movement in the early years of the twentieth century. Though he lived most of his life in Norway, Munch spent 20 peripatetic years traveling around Europe, particularly France and Germany, painting and exhibiting the majority of his most well-known works. He lived a decidedly isolated and nomadic life, shaping his highly personal works, which are most often read as intimate examinations of the life of the mind and the psyche of mankind. Munch’s paintings, prints, and drawings have had an incredible impact on not only the history of art, but also the way in which we perceive art as an expression of our internal struggles. 

    View all of Edvard Munch's work.

  • Artwork Details

    Between 1893 and 1910, Munch created four versions of the composition entitled The Scream. The three paintings and one pastel depict a figure in a tumultuous landscape with a horrorstruck, tormented expression. Originally entitled The Scream of Nature, Munch wrote in an 1892 entry in his diary that he was walking along a path in Oslo and Osensed 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. The haunting image is one of the most sought-after artworks in the world, with the pastel selling in 2012 for over $11.9 million, the highest nominal price paid for an artwork at auction. It has also been the target of many thefts and heists, the most recent instance being the theft of the painting from the Munch Museum in Oslo in 2004. Luckily, the painting was recovered two years later. The Scream has been interpreted in many ways, including readings that liken it to the experiences of bipolar and depersonalization disorders. No matter the interpretation, The Scream has come to be one of the most iconic images of modern art.