According to a study by the National Museum of Norway, Edvard Munch is the author of the mysterious text inscribed on the painting “The Scream”, writes BBC.
A small, barely visible sentence, written on one of the most famous paintings in the world, was the cause of many assumptions in the art world.
The words “It could only be painted by a madman” are written in pencil in the upper left corner of the painting.
Now, new tests by the National Museum of Norway have confirmed that they were written by the painter himself.
The original painting, first exhibited in Munch’s hometown of Oslo (then Kristiania) in 1893, became a radical and timeless expression of human anxiety. Its influence spread and even reached Hollywood, which produced the horror film series “Scream” in the ’90s, and favored the emergence of modern emojis, notes BBC.
The artwork has undergone a conservation process for installation in the new museum, which is set to open in the Norwegian capital next year.
Art critics have long wondered if the graffiti was an act of vandalism by an outraged viewer, or if it was written by Munch himself – who was known to have suffered from mental health problems. throughout life.
After using technology to analyze the handwriting, which was compared to the artist’s diaries and letters, the museum’s experts concluded that those words were written by Munch.
“The writing is undoubtedly Munch’s,” said museum curator Mai Britt Guleng.
“The handwriting itself, as well as the events that took place in 1895, when Munch first presented the painting in Norway, all point in the same direction,” she added.
Edvard Munch is the author of the mysterious text in “The Scream”
In 1994, the painting “The Scream” was stolen from an art museum in Norway. She was recovered from an undercover operation by British police.
The work provoked intense criticism in the late 19th century, as well as public speculation about Munch’s mental health.
According to his diaries, Edvard Munch was deeply affected by those reactions and is believed to have returned to painting later to add the pencil statement.
Both Munch’s father and sister suffered bouts of depression, and Munch was eventually hospitalized after a nervous breakdown in 1908, the BBC notes.
His mother and older sister died before the artist turned 14, his father died 12 years later, and another sister was admitted to an asylum with bipolar disorder.
“Since I know myself, I have suffered from a deep sense of anxiety, which I have tried to express in my art,” Munch wrote. “Without anxiety and illness, I would have been like a ship without a rudder,” the artist added.
In 2019, BBC Arts wrote that the work is “an expression of his anxiety at a turning point in history, in a world increasingly torn from old traditions”, noting that “there are clear parallels in today’s world ”.
“This is certainly why ‘The Scream’ maintains its power despite its ubiquity – it is a mirror of its own contemporary fears. Don’t we all scream inside? ”, Continued the BBC Arts journalists.
The painting “The Scream” will be exhibited along with a number of other works by Munch, including “Madonna”, “The Dance of Life” and “Self-Portrait with Cigarette”, at the National Museum of Norway, starting in 2022.
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