For decades, the phrase hidden in the upper left corner of the picture was attributed to an act of vandalism. But after all, it was written by the painter himself.
It could only have been painted by a madman “. The scrawled and almost invisible phrase in the upper left corner of The Scream has long intrigued painting lovers and experts. Now, after a new investigation carried out, I end up at the National Museum of Norway, the experts confirmed that it was Edvard Munch himself who wrote it.
For decades, experts believed that the phrase was nothing more than an act of vandalism by someone who doubted the painter’s sanity.
The Scream, a masterpiece of expressionism, is hailed as a representation of human anxiety. And the deformed face of the figure in the foreground has even inspired its own emoji.
During the most recent restoration of the painting, the curators used infrared to analyze the sentence, added it to the work already after it was finished. And they compared calligraphy with notes and letters written by Munch, as well as analyzing the events that marked the painter’s life at the time of the first public exhibition of O Grito.
“The calligraphy is undoubtedly Munch’s own”, concluded Mai Britt Guleng, curator of the museum. Cited by CNN, she further explains: “Both the handwriting and the events that took place in 1895, when Munch first exhibited the painting in Norway, all point in the same direction.”
Rarely on display after it was stolen in 2004 and eventually recovered shortly afterward, O Grito is currently undergoing restoration with a view to a new exhibition. At the time, it suffered some damage that required the intervention of experts.
As for the message hidden in the painting, experts believe it was a reaction by the painter to critics who questioned his mental health when it was first shown in Kristiania (as it was called Oslo at the time).
The inspiration for The Scream came to Munch during a walk through the city in which he was carried away by physical and mental discomfort.