Edvard Munchs “The Scream” was painted in the end of the 19th century, and ispossibly the first Expressionist painting. The Scream was very different from the art ofthe time, when many artists tried to depict objective reality. Munch was a tortured soul, and it certainly showed in this painting. Most of hisfamily had died, and he was often plagued by sickness. The Scream was not a reflectionof what was going on at the time, but rather, Munchs own inner hell.
It visualizes adesperate aspect of fin-de-sicle: anxiety and apocalypse. The percussiveness ofthe motif shows that it also speaks to our day and age ( Whaley 75 ). When Edvard Much was asked what had inspired him to do this painting, hereplied, “One evening I was walking along a path, the city on one side of me and thefjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out across the fjord.
The sun wassetting, the clouds were turning blood red. I felt a scream passing through nature. Itseemed to me that I could hear the scream. I painted this picture; painted the clouds asreal blood. The colors screamed” (Preble 52). Some people, when they look at this painting, only see a person screaming.Order now
Theysee the pretty blend of colors, but dont actually realize what they are looking at. A loneemaciated figure halts on a bridge clutching his ears, his eyes and mouth open wide in ascream of anguish. Behind him a couple (his two friends) are walking together in theopposite direction. Barely discernible in the swirling motion of a red-blood sunset anddeep blue-black fjord, are tiny boats at sea, and the suggestion of town buildings ( Preble53).
This painting was definately the first of its kind, the first Expressionist painting. People say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If thats the case, then “The Scream”is worth a million. It has a message that no other painting of its time had. Edvard Munchwas pouring out his soul onto the canvas. What we see here, is a glimpse of what Munchwas really like inside.
When we really look at the painting, we understand what the artistwas feeling at the time, because it captures nothing but human emotion. It creates asimilar mood in us for a brief moment. The man screaming in the picture seems to feel like hes going insane, and thatthe world is getting to be too much for him. The two people walking away from himpossibly mean that the man feels left out of everything, or that he doesnt fit in with therest of the world.
Maybe he needs help, and his friends werent there for him. The piece of artwork speaks better than actual words to describe it, which makesit something spectacular. Long after Munch died, the painting remains, and people arestill amazed with it. Why? Because art is all about expressing raw human emotion, andthis painting captures it perfectly. People are scared of things they dont understand orcannot relate to. Everyone can relate to what this piece expresses, and that is why its sopopular.
BibliographyBirren, Faber. History of Color Painting: New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. , 1965. Preble, Hans Peter. Expressionism. Trans.
Mary Whittall. New York: Oxford University Press, 1972. Whaley, Doug. Edvard Munch- Father of Expressionism: A Study In Existential Philosophy. New York:Anchor Books, 1973.