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Edvard Munch’s ‘SCREAM’ in National Art Museum, Oslo

If you thought Monalisa is the most expensive and famous painting in Europe, take a Google search to find competitors. The biggest museum of Oslo, National Gallery which houses the largest art work of Norwegian painters has another great art work.

Before visiting Oslo, I did not know that ‘SCREAM’ painting by Edvard Munch is another painting that wins a high position among the famous art work in the world. 

The National Gallery  showcases his work as well as art pieces of French and other European artists. One section of the museum comprising of six to seven rooms gives us a chance to see the work of three generations of artists.  One can actually see the connection as well as the evolution of art from one to another with the progress of years.

Edvard Munch painted four iconic versions of this famous painting. One version of it was stolen from  National Art Museum and recovered and the second one was stolen from Munch Museum too. The thieves had stolen it for ransom but later the police located them safe and sound.


Edvard Munch’s Painting ‘Scream’


Interpretation of SCREAM…

The normal interpretation of the painting says that its a form of human figure while walking along the fjord, hears a scream from nature and it expresses it through shielding his/her ears. His agony and pain is depicted by his expression.

But there have been many deeper meanings to it as well. One view says that he heard the disruption, fury of nature as the sky suddenly turned orange and red and it was actually the scream from nature. It was like a warning, a declaration to everyone, maybe a forewarning or prediction.  if your notice, unlike his other paintings, the face of the figure also does not indicate a man or a woman’s usual look.  Also it is said that it was only Edvard who heard the scream, none of his friends who were close to him heard it.

Initially, I too found the painting too simplistic but if you stand watching it for long, you can actually interpret it in many ways. What if Edvard Munch warned us for nature’s fury that would take place if humans continued to disrespect nature or maybe it was just a form of extreme expression, an inner vent out, a fear of within, a forewarning to a change that had commenced… etc.  The stark colors of the sky (bloody red)  and water (dark blue with ripples) also have much to convey definitely. Art is an imaginative fiction of mind and it can always be understood differently by many people.



I thoroughly enjoyed watching, analyzing the different art forms.  Europeans have a flair for human forms.


Edvard Munch’s Dance of Life


Edvard Munch had a special way of expression. This is another very famous art work of his. He was an expressionist. Not only Edvard, the museum has art works by Gauguin, Picasso and El Greco, and impressionists such as Manet, Degas, Renoir, Matisse, Cézanne and Monet too.


Self-portrait after the
Spanish Influenza



We enjoyed a Sunday visit when the Museum entry is free for all. It is an easy walk down from the Royal Palace of Oslo. The street is called Universitetsgata.  The Royal palace lies at the end point of the most famous and lively street of Oslo,  Karl Johans Gate.


A larger SCREAM welcomes at the main entrance gate


In the words of Munch that inspired his painting.

I was walking along the road with two friends. The Sun was setting —
The Sky turned a bloody red
And I felt a whiff of Melancholy — I stood
Still, deathly tired — over the blue-black
Fjord and City hung Blood and Tongues of Fire
My Friends walked on — I remained behind
— shivering with Anxiety. I felt the great Scream in Nature.


All pictures are from my camera.


5 thoughts on “Edvard Munch’s ‘SCREAM’ in National Art Museum, Oslo

  1. The paintings are of course fantastic but I liked your explanation so much. Europe is really the art capital of the world.

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