The Scream1…After Munch

Suffering, illness, the human condition…often the most silent and unshareable of experiences.

Munch’s iconic The Scream (there are actually four versions, all from the late 1890s/early 1900s) is perhaps now second only to Mona Lisa as one of the most memorable and most recognisable of paintings. It has transcended time and both cultural and art history, and is more famous now that it was in Munch’s lifetime. The 150th anniversary of the artist’s birth will be celebrated in 2013. In May 2012, one of the four versions of The Scream, the only one that currently remains in private ownership, will be auctioned, and is expected to sell for more than $80 million.

What intrigues me most about The Scream is how the painted canvas represents a reality rooted in an inner experience, a visual realisation of the artist’s ‘soul’, a self-portrait perhaps in the absolute sense, a self laid bare by the experience of existential suffering.

Perhaps this is why The Scream has remained iconic. It heralded, and sustained, a ‘visibilization’ of suffering that was, and remains, instantly recognisable by the viewer, who can witness and share the experience of anxiety and suffering as experienced and depicted by Munch more than a century ago.

 

Scream2 to follow…

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