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The Scream

imag: ScreamOn 7 May 1994, Norway's most famous painting, "The Scream" by Edvard Munch, was recovered almost three months after it was stolen from a museum in Oslo.

Who was Edvard Munch?

Edvard Munch (pronounced MOONK) was born in Ekely, Norway on December 12, 1863 - the son of a military doctor. He was an Expressionist, an artist who expresses strong feelings (emotions) through colours and bold brush-strokes in his paintings.

What inspired Munch to paint 'The Scream'?

According to Edvard Munch, the inspiration for this painting was drawn from a past event. "The Scream" was a result of the anxiety and fear he felt on a day while walking with two friends. The serene atmosphere, which he had hoped to enjoy, was suddenly interrupted by changes in the sky, caused by the setting sun. To Munch, the landscape seemed engulfed in red flames, triggering an unnerving sense of fear in him.

"The flaming clouds hung like blood " Edvard Munch

Why caused the read sky?

Astronomers believe the red sky was caused by a volcanic eruption half a world away. Donald Olson, a physics and astronomy professor at Texas State University, and his colleagues determined that debris thrown into the atmosphere by the great eruption at the island of Krakatoa, in modern Indonesia, created vivid red twilights in Europe from November 1883 through February 1884.

Edvard Munch painted several versions of 'The Scream' in 1893
The painting was part of his "Frieze of Life" series, in which sickness, death, fear, love and melancholy are central themes.

The painting has inspired Hollywood

The mask in the "Scream" movie

The famous scream Macauly Caulkin did in 'Home Alone' movie. He makes fun of this painting when he slaps on after shave lotion and it hurts.

Learning Activities

Who do you think the man is in this painting?
What feelings is the artist trying to communicate through his painting?
Why do you think the man is screaming?
What might cause people to scream - fear or another emotion?
What do you notice about the colours the artist used?

Create an animation
The iconic Edvard Munch painting 'The Scream' has been re-interpreted by children at a Devon school. They've made an animated film based on what might have caused the character in the painting to scream.

Make your own copy of the painting
Black and white image of "The Scream" for pupils to paint

Also on this day ....

7 May 1840: Pyotr (Peter) Ilyich Tchaikovsky, famous Composer was born. Tchaikovsky played the piano from the age of 5 and by the age of six he could read French and German.


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