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The Scream by Edvard Munch is undoubtedly the most famous Norwegian painting. The image of a man with his mouth wide open, eyes filled with terror, and hands over his ears is known all over the world. This painting served as the overture to Expressionism, the art style dominated by emotions (instead of reality). Munch made 4 versions of The Scream.
“The sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.” Munch found inspiration for his probing masterpiece while walking on the Ekeberg Hill above Oslo. Follow in the footsteps of Edvard Munch around the Oslo Fjord, along painting locations, museums and studios.
In 2012, an American multimillionaire paid 90 million euros for a version of The Scream in pastels on cardboard – a record for the most expensive privately owned painting. The other 3 versions are all still on display in Oslo. The original (oil on linen) hangs in the Munch room of the Nasjonalgalleriet. The painting was stolen on the opening day of the Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer in 1994. The thieves left behind a note: ‘Thanks for the poor security.’ The painting was retrieved months later.
Nasjonalgalleriet, Universitetsgata 13, Sentrum, Oslo
2 other versions of The Scream, an oil painting and a pastel, are on display at the Munch Museum in Tøyen. The museum contains another 20,000 works of art, representing half of Munch's complete oeuvre. Art thieves also hit this museum. In 2004, 2 masked and armed men took The Scream and the Madonna from the wall in broad daylight. The paintings resurfaced 2 years later.
Munchmuseet, Tøyengata 53, Tøyen, Oslo
Edvard Munch found the inspiration for The Scream while walking on Ekeberg Hill, which can be reached by tram 18 or 19. Every day, he met his friend Henrik Ibsen, the famous playwright and poet, in the trendy café of the Grand Hotel. He spent his youth at 5 different addresses in Grünerløkka, a neighbourhood that was stately back then and trendy today. This is also close to where he is buried, along with a lot of other famous Norwegians: the Vår Frelsers Gravlund cemetery.