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The Scream by Edward Munch

‘’The Scream’’ is an artwork created by Norwegian painter Edward Munch in 1893, Berlin.  The artwork’s original name “Skrik”, but more commonly known as “Scream”. There are four screaming tables made by Munch. The first oil painting, made in 1893, is exhibited at the National Gallery in Oslo. The pastel version on the same date and the other oil painting version of 1910 are exhibited at the Munch Museum. The last painting made in 1895 is the only pastel table in the hands of the private person.  In 2012, 120 million dollars were sold in the United States and the shortest period was the most expensive artwork title. ‘’Edvard Munch’s 1893 original painting was made using oil paint on the cardboard and the original dimensions are 91 x 73,5 cm.’’1

The Scream by Edward Munch             

The ‘Scream’ painting by Edvard Munch, describing the existential sufferings of man, is one of the most famous works of art history. Edvard Munch was an expressionist painter which  wrote in his diary described the source of inspiration on the subject of screaming.;

‘’I was out walking the road with two friends, the sun began to set, suddenly the sky turned a blood red, I paussed, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence. There was blood  and tongues  of fire above blue-black fjord and the city,. My friends walked on and I stood there trembling with anxiety, and I sensed  and endless scream passing through nature. “2 The items in the above lines are also visible in the picture. On the way back, the painter’s friends, the town on the back, and the blue-black fiord are noticeable. The sky, as Munch describes it, is blood red and covered with moving clouds in fire color. The scared figure screaming at the front is actually Edward Munch himself. In this respect, the hero of The Scream painting, it can be the painter’s self-portraits and also the painter noted in his diary that he felt the scream of nature at the same time and began to make paintings in this way.

The Scream by Edward Munch

When we first look at the work, the effects of existential misery very clearly.  At first glance, the disturbed character in the front makes the person uncomfortable. We have a feeling that something is not going well in the face of fear, anxiety, confusion. In a great worry, the hands are screaming in their ears. Also, the sloping body is like an accent.  This figurine contrasts with the unusual gaze, stance and body form, with two straight people appearing on the left and continuing on the road. For this reason, we can say that the screaming figure is in a very different mood from the other two people and even if we say that the screamer is the painter himself, we see at first sight a person with no sex. Here we can say that what the painter really wants to reflect is not the external appearance and sex but the mood shows how strongly it reflects on the person’s external appearance. In the scream The  figure which is  the inclined posture of the head, hands and body in harmony with the twisted forms of mountains and sky. Thus, feeling the scream in the nature shows that the character is actually both psychologically and physically integrated with it.

We can interpret the pessimistic air in the artwork with the thought of suicide because of the painter made his work at a time when he felt sick and tired. Also because of the death due to tuberculosis in their family, the feelings of illness, death, fear, pain and pessimism are felt in his works. When we first look at the work, the effects of existential misery very clearly.  I think that the scream shows that man is in a very small point in front of the infinite universe. The passivity of man, the spiritual effect of nature, and the reality of the relation of between human and nature. Also I think that the reason why screaming work is so important,  it contains the themes that can affect every period of history. In addition; we can say that both the nature and the human screams when we evaluate the scream table in terms of today because today both of them complain each other. The scream table reflects many of our feelings nowadays when we complain about today’s crowd, from buildings, from hustle and bustle, from the impatience of people, from the gradual disappearance of nature, to the growing desire for green.

The Scream by Edward Munch

This work is an indication of the abstraction of someting. With brush strokes, color usage and distortions of forms, the human nature, the outward appearance of emotions, is achieved in this way rather than the physical reality. The scream, which will be evaluated in terms of line, shape, light and value, texture, color, area, pattern, time and movement, contains many art elements. In fact, the composition is rather simple but impressive: the strong but also disturbing diagonal of the bridge and handrail is in complete opposition to the inverse diagonal of the water. The horizon line is relatively high and it is also strongly emphasized. The main figure is solid which the strongest in all figure-motifs  centered on the picture. Light, colors and value are also most important elements of visual  art. Because language connects emotion with color. And values also be used to evoke emotional response in the viewer. The pessimistic energy and stormy emotions in Munch’s paintings depict emotional distortions with exaggerated colors in the picture. Disturbing red, green, and hunger fill the sky. This disturbance of colors is of course due to the contradictions to nature, and in this contradiction the main figure forms the real metaphor of despair, horror, real stunness and this strikingness. Also Munch was used visual texture and continous narrative. If we will explain the picture to the design principles, we should mention some details such as unity, balance and focal point. Munch has benefited from color harmony to combine unity and diversity. Also the scream has asymmetrical balance due to the position of main figure and others.

To sum up, taking into account all of these; The scream chart tells the helplessness of the person against the silent scream of nature. Attention is drawn to the person who is trying to protect himself from the chaotic hell of nature. ‘’ The most striking feature of the screaming table is that it is not an influence from the artists after itself, but one of the popular cultural foundation.’’3  In all the periods of history, in a very simple but very impressive way, describing the hollowness of man, loneliness and self-righteousness in relation to nature.