While in Oslo, Norway, we visited the National Gallery and viewed a small collection of paintings by their national treasure, Edvard Munch (1863-1944). He is noted for the evocative intensity of his psychological themes and for greatly influencing German expressionism in the early 20th century: a forefather to modern art.
Pictured here are 2 choice paintings: The Scream (Skirk), 1893 and Self portrait, Spanish influenza (Selvportrett i spanskesyken), 1919. Most are familiar with The Scream, a name given to a series of 4 paintings from 1893 (oil, tempra and pastel on cardboard), 1895 (lithograph), 1895 (pastel on cardboard), and 1910 (tempra on cardboard). This painting is famous. It reached iconic status in pop culture when the copyright expired in the late 20th century; the face was imitated, copied and parodied by such pop institutions as The Simpsons, Andy Warhol and the late 90s Scream film series.
With the image of The Scream burned already into my mind, I didn't expect to be so transfixed by the real thing. But, I was pleasantly surprised by his beautiful pastel colour palette (I had always experienced the work, as a photograph of course, to be saturated in blood reds, deep blacks and electric blues). The colour, raw expression, and the immediacy in his brush movement makes one want to paint.
I regret to miss the upcoming installation of Munch 150, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth, from June - October of this year. If you're in Oslo during this time, check out The Scream in real life. It is worth it.