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The Scream (The Cry) by Edvard Munch

September 25, 2010

‘The Scream’ (also known as ‘The Cry’) is the creation of Edvard Munch, a printmaker and impressionist painter from Oslo, Norway.  He gained fame and worldwide recognition because of this specific art piece.  Munch is best known for art with strong and suggestive emotional and psychological themes.  Most of his works deal with sickness, death and misery.  This is the reason he became an influential figure in the development of German Expressionism.

Munch created ‘The Scream’ in 1893.  The painting was included in his collection entitled ‘The Frieze of Life,’ wherein all art pieces were inspired by his personal experiences.  In ‘The Scream,’ there is a figure that stands on bridge; his hands are on his ears as his mouth is open, as if to let out a piercing cry.  In the background of the figure is the setting sun, as depicted by the bright red and orange curves.  The painting is quite disturbing, and has been described as the ultimate image of anguish.  He created several versions of ‘The Scream’ between 1892 and 1896.

It is said that the painting was inspired by an event wherein Munch was strolling across the bridge with two friends in tow.  He described that particular time in his journal, where he wrote, “The sun began to set.  I felt a breath of melancholy.  Suddenly the sky turned blood-red…My friends walked on and there I still stood, trembling with fear – and I sensed a great, infinite scream run through nature.”

The best indicator of a particular painting’s popularity is mass production.  A truly popular painting becomes ubiquitous, as its image will be used in various media and merchandise.  The image will be seen as reproduced in posters and printed on everything from cups to refrigerator magnets.  Another sign of fame is parody.  Famous paintings get parodied often.  If these two factors are to be considered, then ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch is truly a famous masterpiece.

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