Secret Graffiti On ‘The Scream’ Was Put There By Munch Himself, Experts Confirm
By Izza Sofia, 23 Feb 2021
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Artist Edvard Munch was behind a mysterious inscription on his famous painting, The Scream, according to recent infrared scans.
A small and barely visible sentence in pencil reading, “Can only have been painted by a madman,” can be seen on the top left-hand corner of the painting.
For years, curators and art historians have wondered who wrote it. According to The National Museum of Norway, a Danish art critic first noticed the writing during an exhibition in Copenhagen in 1904 and thought that someone had added it in an act of vandalism.
Tests made by The National Museum of Norway, however, apparently confirm that the words were included by Munch himself.
The museum came to the conclusion after using infrared scans to analyze his handwriting together against his diaries and letters during an extensive conservation project in preparation for its installation in Oslo next year.
“The writing is without a doubt Munch’s own,” said museum curator Mai Britt Guileng. “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.”
The Scream’s debut in 1895 had caused public speculation about Munch’s mental health. A medical student had questioned his mental state and claimed that Munch’s work proved his mind was unsound.
Munch was deeply hurt by the comments and returned to the incident again and again in letters and diaries. According to AP News, “It is likely that Munch added the inscription in 1895, or shortly after, in response to the judgement of his work.”
The first version (1893) of Munch's 'The Scream' features a text written in the red sky: "Could only have been painted by a madman!". For decades, nobody knew who did it. Today, @nasjonalmuseet confirmed the name of the vandal: Edvard Munch. Learn more: https://t.co/cojkAnQfan pic.twitter.com/lDCJM6dudY— Filippo Lorenzin (@fi_lor) February 22, 2021
[via AP News, cover image via Wikimedia Commons]
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