4 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Scream'

Learn need-to-knows about Edvard Munch's famous painting from The Munch Museum, Oslo

By Google Arts & Culture

The Scream (1910) by Edvard MunchThe Munch Museum, Oslo

The Scream is undoubtedly Edvard Munch’s most well-known painting. Painted in Berlin and Åsgårdsstrand in the 1890’s, it reflects Munch's feelings about the human condition and the new, modern century of the 1900s. Scroll on to learn the must-knows about Munch's famous work...

1. There are several screams

Munch produced several versions of The Scream. Two of them are paintings, of which one belongs to the National Gallery in Oslo, the other to the Munch Museum.

Munch later gave the series of works the title 'Frieze of Life' and described these paintings as a poem of love, life, and death. 

2. It's based on personal experience

'The Scream' is based on an experience Munch had when he was walking with two friends in Ekebergåsen on the outskirts of Christiania. He described his experience in several texts...

"I was out walking with two friends - the sun was setting - suddenly the sky turned blood red - I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence...

...there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city - my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with angst...

...and I sensed an endless scream passing through nature."

3. Why is the figure screaming?

The two boats, echoing the two figures on the bridge, might represent the unity and relative calm of pre-1900s Europe. These peaceful elements fade into the background...

...whilst sharp lines and perspectives drag the main figure into the immediate foreground. Munch communicates the anxiety and terror of a man being dragged into a new and terrifying modern era, defined by conflict and mechanical industry.

4. It has become a universal symbol

The motif has constantly been copied, caricatured and commercialized in numerous ways, and is undoubtedly one of the most famous images in the world of art. It has become a universal, and timeless, picture of the human condition.

Discover the real-life landscapes from The Scream and other famous artworks here

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