Edvard Munch, the pioneer of German and Scandinavian expressionism, probably never expected that nearly 80 years after his death, "The Scream" would still be considered one of the most ingenious master pieces of all time. "The Scream" is one of those very few paintings in art history whose importance can't be overestimated. Why is that? Read below.
As with other recognized works of art, "The Scream" has been placed in many different contexts. Art critics as well as passionate connoisseurs often point to the background element of nature's fury. The image of chaos disempowering human mind to the scope of insanity has a strong relation to both Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon preoccupation with the uncontrollability of natural forces. Munch himself was fascinated by the off-shore imagery of the open seas, gloomy storms and winds overlapped with periods of emptiness, silence and darkness. Representation of nature in Munch's creativity has a strong relation to his Scandinavian identity â it also constitutes one of the elements determining the condition of humanity.
Another popular reading originates from the biography of Munch himself. It says that "The Scream" is Munch's private reflection on living and coping with depression. In the world where modern medicine as yet hasn't proposed anything to the victims of psychological distress apart from Freudian psychoanalysis, Munch relates to the alienation from social circles that sufferers like him experienced solely in humility and solitude. Simultaneously, he draws a dramatic picture of a human being rebelling against those limits. Social constraints imposed on the victims of psychological illnesses at the turn of the centuries hasn't grown old â instability of moods, anxieties and lack of acceptation still hold today as widespread social taboo.
The symbolic capacity of "The Scream" is most likely inexhaustible. From artistic genius, through depression, loneliness, excess of emotions and rebellion against anything that can be imposed on individuals and personal dignity, "The Scream" signifies what many today's viewers find hard to name. "The Scream" is, consequently, often quoted as the ultimate manifesto of expressionism. It recounts not just the era of modernism but the whole of history that took place prior to Munch's birth. Expressionism is, in a way, a summary of the collective biography of people born into the reality of the early 20th century.
In the present day, we can observe how the painting's statistics incessantly grow in terms of thefts committed against its owners, price evaluations, remakes, and cultural readjustments. "The Scream" has been a subject of numerous interpretations and its final meaning, historical importance as well as influences are yet to be defined.