The Scream” by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, which was created in 1893. It shows a human figure with an apocalyptic red sky in the background, who presses her hands against her head while her mouth and eyes open in fear.
The masterpiece of symbolism not only inspired an emoji, but was also a mysterious enigma for a long time.
Because in the upper left corner of the first picture of the four-part row is written in Norwegian in a very small and barely recognizable pencil: “Could only have been painted by a madman.” Art historians all over the world were unsure from whom the mysterious message was sent came from “
Has it always been there and written by the artist himself? Or had a museum visitor or employee smeared the work of art?
While the picture was being prepared for the opening of the National Museum in Oslo in 2022, the museum wanted to solve the mystery of the enigmatic pencil message once and for all – and carried out infrared scans on the painting.
The sentence came from Munch himself. In a press release from the National Museum, she said:
To achieve this, the researchers made the handwriting on the painting so visible with the help of infrared scans that it could be recognized without any problems. It was then compared with the artist’s diary entries and letters.
But why did Munch write on his own work of art?
The trigger for this was probably the first reactions of the public and the critics to the now famous picture when Munch exhibited it for the first time in his hometown Kristiania, today’s Oslo.
The public speculated about the state of mind of the painter: At a discussion night in a student association, at which Munch was presumably present himself, the young medical student Johan Scharffenberg claimed that Munch’s pictures would prove that he was crazy. Munch was deeply hurt by the allegations. In various letters and diary entries he kept talking about this incident. Hence, art historians suspect that Munch’s inscription was written in response to or shortly thereafter.
Both his father and sister suffered from depression. After a nervous breakdown, Edvard Munch was also hospitalized in 1908. In his life he repeatedly suffered from anxiety disorders and had to struggle with psychological problems, which he worked through in his art.