The Scream, 1893

by Edvard Munch

Content & Context

       Created by Munch, the Expressionist painting reveals a ghostly figure appearing in an agonized state. Historians believe the red sky may have ties to a volcanic eruption, a slaughterhouse, or a lunatic asylum. Others however, believe that the expressionist quality of Munch countered a literal represenation in his paintings. It is important to note that one can not necessarily identify the gender of this figure.

Period of Art

        This painting was created during the Expressionist period. This era began in the 20th century and was a subjective perspective of the world. Painters began to express themselves via feelings instead of a direct represenation.


         First stolen on February 12, 1994, two men broke into the National Gallery in Oslo. The poor security allowed the painting to be easily stolen as a result of the Olympic festivities. The second theft occurred on August 22nd, 2004, when gunmen entered Munch Museum in Islo and stole "The Scream" and "Madonna".

The Recovery

         In 1996, two years later, four men were convicted for aiding in the theft. However, they were soon released because British agents went into Norway using false identities. The second recovery occured in 2006 when Norwegian police abruptly announced their redemption. However, there are no released details as for how they got the painting back. What is worthy to note, however, is that "The Scream" and "Madonna" were much less damaged than they expected.


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