• Mon. Mar 8th, 2021

‘The Scream’ contains hidden message written by Edvard Munch


Feb 23, 2021

Munch wrote mystery note on The Scream (Picture: Getty)

Artist Edvard Munch has been revealed as responsible for scrawling ‘madman’ graffiti on his own most famous piece.

Infra-red scans of the original 1893 version of The Scream found the remark ‘Can only have been painted by a madman!’ pencilled between clouds in the top-left.

Some art historians had suggested an outraged vandal had added the caption.

But now Norway’s National Museum has confirmed the scrawl — ‘Kan kun være malet af en gal Mand!’ — was added by the Norwegian artist, and matches his handwriting in diaries and letters.

The Scream had a hidden message written onto it (Picture: Universal History Archive/Getty)
It reads: ‘Can only have been painted by a madman’ (Picture: AFP)

‘The writing is without a doubt Munch’s own,’ said curator Mai Britt Guleng. ‘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.’

Some have speculated Munch added the words to his depiction of an anguished figure after being hurt by a horrified reaction to its unveiling.

Curators confirmed that it was penned by the artist himself (Picture: AFP)

The artist, who suffered depression, made four versions of the work.

On his inspiration, he wrote of walking at sunset, saying: ‘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.’

The annotated version of The Scream will go on display next year in Oslo.

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