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Edvard Munch on Scream painting: “can only have been painted by a madman”

Artist Edvard Munch wrote mysterious graffiti on his painting of The Scream, infrared scans have shown.

Edvard Munch, an artist who painted The Scream wrote mysterious graffiti on his painting. It shown from infrared scans. A small and barely visible sentence written on it.

The Scream of Edvard munch: discovery

“Can only have been painted by a madman” was the exact words and inscribed in pencil in the top left-hand corner of the world’s most well-known paintings.

A new test made by The National Museum of Norway confirmed they were made by himself.

Art critics have long questioned whether the graffiti was an act of vandalism done by an outraged spectator, or written by Munch himself. Munch was known to have had mental health problems throughout his life. The museum concluded the words written by Munch. It came after using technology to analyse the handwriting and compare it with his diaries and letters. “The writing is without a doubt Munch’s own,” said museum curator Mai Britt Guleng.

The handwriting itself, as well as events that happened in 1895, when Munch exhibited the painting in Norway for the first time, all point in the same direction, added her. The Scream painting produced strong criticism at the time along with public thinking around Munch’s mental state. According to his diaries, Munch was profoundly hurt by the reaction. It’s believed he returned to the painting to add his pencilled statement afterward.

Munch’s father and sister suffered rounds of depression and Munch was finally hospitalised after a nervous breakdown in 1908. His mother and older sister both died before the artist turned 14. His father died 12 years later and another sister was admitted to an asylum, with bipolar disorder.

Munch wrote in the diary that he remembered how he suffered from a deep feeling of anxiety which he has tried to express in his art. He also added that without this anxiety and illness he would have been like a ship without a rudder. The Scream will be displayed with several of Munch’s other works, including Madonna, The Dance of Life, and Self-Portrait with Cigarette, in The National Museum of Norway from 2022.


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