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1893, 91×73.5 cm • Pastel, Tempera, Cardboard

Description of the artwork «Scream»

Everyone knows "The scream", even people who are far from the fine arts and do not immediately recall the name of the artist. The Scream became a terrible symbol of the 20th century, repeated many times in popular culture, written at the turn of the century and redrawn a thousand times by advertisers, animators, filmmakers and graphic designers. This ambiguous popularity could overtake the masterpiece of painting only in one case: when it is at maximum power sound technique, emotion and idea.

Edvard Munch painted the first version of The Scream in 1893. There must be some deep psychological explanation for the fact that the most important of his paintings was repeated by Munch several times in a lifetime. He painted and re-painted the same subjects. But in the story of "The Scream" the most important meaning of the four copies (plus lithograph) can be safely assumed as the economic and adventurously-criminal one. The obsession with which the artist repeated the same story in different techniques and in different periods of his life, gave the opportunity to acquire a famous painting not only by two main museums of Oslo, but also by a private collector for a record sum. On May 2, 2012 an American businessman Leon David became the happy owner of the pastel author's copy of "The Scream" created in 1895 . It was purchased for 119.922.500,00 USD

One copy of "The Scream", painted on cardboard in mixed media using oil and tempera is on display at the National gallery in Oslo (a variant created in 1893 is the reproduction to the left of the text) and the Munch Museum (version in 1910). The Munch Museum is another "Scream" - painted in pastels in 1893. And from both of the museums the paintings were stolen.

For the first time the famous painting was stolen in 1994 from the National gallery: the whole adventure took less than a minute to break the window, remove the picture, turn off the alarm. The thief in the note he thanked the guards for a bad job, but that was a serious justification – just at this time was broadcasting the opening of the winter Olympic games in Norway.

The second kidnapping "The Scream" did not look like an exciting intellectual art-detective. In 2004, the robbers just broke into the Munch Museum in broad daylight, at gunpoint caretakers and visitors, and tore from the wall "The Scream" and "Madonna". Two years passed before slightly damaged paintings got back to their places.

Rich adventurous story of this work is related not only to its considerable cost, but with the magical effects of "The Scream" on the viewer. Rumor has it that all 4 copies are cursed, they bring pain and fear. But the most important shamanic techniques in this picture is, of course, color and line. A feeling of impending disaster, terror and the ruthless natural disaster here in the trembling, as if in the sultry air, lines, saturated, unnatural contrasts and deep colors. This experience is so strong that critics, as one can see in this image is always more: the symbol of the 20th century with its wars, disasters, and turmoil, the hostility of nature, and sometimes the entire universe in relation to man.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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About the artwork
Subject and objects: Genre scene
Style of art and technique: Expressionism, Pastel, Tempera

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