The Hidden Message on Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' Has Been Solved

First discovered in 1904.

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Arts
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Prepping for a 2022 opening, Norway’s National Museum has finally put to rest a mystery that dates back to 1904. Inscribed on the top left-hand corner of the canvas in Edvard Munch‘s The Scream is the sentence, “Can only have been painted by a madman.”

For decades, art experts could not confirm the origins of the line, but now thanks to infrared technology, the writing on the original The Scream from 1893 has been confirmed as Munch’s. The line on the painting was compared with handwriting from that artist’s diaries and letters to which the styles matched up. “The writing is without a doubt Munch’s own. The handwriting itself, as well as events that happened in 1895, when Munch showed the painting in Norway for the first time, all point in the same direction,” said Mai Britt Guleng, the museum’s curator.

Many have speculated that it was the critical response to the painting that drove him to add the line. According to a diary entry, Munch came up with The Scream in Kristiania while witnessing a blood-red sunset while he was battling depression, anxiety, and a deteriorating mental health.

In other art news, “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” will launch in NYC this summer 2021.

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