Artist Edward Munch painted a mysterious graffiti on his painting “Scream”. It was detected by an infrared scan of the canvas.
A small and barely noticeable sentence, written in one of the most famous paintings in the world, caused a lot of speculation in the art world.
In the upper left corner the words are written in pencil: “It could only be drawn by a madman.”
A new study by the National Museum of Norway has confirmed that the inscription was made by the artist himself.
The original painting, first shown in Munk’s hometown of Oslo (then Christianity) in 1893, became a radical and timeless expression of human anxiety. She has strongly influenced modern culture in all its manifestations – from a series of horror films “Scream” to modern smilies.
The work of art has been prepared for exhibition at a new museum to open in the Norwegian capital next year.
Art critics have long questioned whether graffiti was an act of vandalism committed by an outraged viewer, or written by Munch himself, who is known to have had mental health problems throughout his life.
The museum concluded that the words were written by Munch, using technology to analyze handwriting and compare it with diaries and letters.
“The inscription was undoubtedly made by Munch himself,” said museum curator Mai Britt Guleng.
“The handwriting itself, as well as the events of 1895, when Munch first showed the painting in Norway, point in the same direction,” she added.
In 1994, “Scream” was abducted from the Norwegian Art Museum. He was found thanks to a daring operation by British undercover detectives.
“Deep feeling of anxiety”
At one time, the work provoked strong criticism, as well as talk about the mental state of Munch.
According to his diaries, Munch took such a reaction very painfully and is believed to have subsequently made this pencil inscription on the painting.
Munk’s father and sister suffered from depression, and Munk himself was hospitalized after a nervous breakdown in 1908.
His mother and older sister died before the artist turned 14, his father died 12 years later, and another sister ended up in a shelter with bipolar disorder.
“For as long as I can remember, I suffered from a deep sense of anxiety that I was trying to express in my art,” Munch wrote.
“Without this anxiety and illness, I would be like a ship without a rudder,” he said.
The Scream, along with a number of other works by Munch, will be on display at the National Museum of Norway next year.
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