I recently spent a long weekend in Oslo, the capital of Norway. This fantastic city had amazing architecture and an abundance of incredible art. Over the course of the weekend, I was lucky enough to see two of the four versions of Evdard Munch’s 'The Scream' (Skirk).
On the first day I visited the Munch museum, a twelve-storey building by the water that sits next to The Opera House. The museum has various collections of his works on each floor, and also has a wonderful restaurant and sky lounge with spectacular views of the city; we were lucky enough to watch the magnificent sunset.
I was so excited to see his works, and they did not disappoint. Each floor had a wonderful selection of his paintings, one painting that stood out to me in particular was called ‘The Girls on the Bridge’. Munch painted multiple versions of this scene; this particular version was painted in 1927. It depicts three girls leaning on a bridge and looking at the peaceful river below. I really liked the serenity of this painting; it is very different to the majority of his works.
I was able to see his earliest version of ‘The Scream’, which was painted in 1893 and depicts an almost alien-like person with their hands over their ears and screaming. The original German title given by Munch to his work was Der Schrei der Natur ( The Scream of Nature ), and the Norwegian title is Skrik ( Shriek ). Munch recalled that he had been out for a walk at sunset when suddenly the setting sun's light turned the clouds 'a blood red'. He sensed an 'infinite scream passing through nature'. This version is a pastel on cardboard and has far more blues and greens than the other three versions. I was able to stand close enough to admire his technique, so much of his emotion is translated into his works; this is particularly evident in this version of 'The Scream', you can clearly see his erratic strokes, especially with the blue pastel.
The next day we decided to visit the National Museum in Oslo, home to the most famous version of ‘The Scream’. The museum had a fantastic collection of paintings, including works by Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh, the latter greatly influenced Munch, especially his use of colour.
They had several rooms dedicated to Edvard Munch, one of which contained ‘The Scream’ and another version of my favourite painting ‘The Girls on the Bridge’. This room has its own security guard, probably because in 1994, thieves placed a ladder up to the window of the National Gallery in Oslo, slunk inside, and stole ‘The Scream’. They were so pleased with how easy it was to take the painting, that they added insult to robbery, leaving a note that read, "Thanks for the poor security." Luckily, the painting was recovered three months later.
I had a fantastic time visiting Oslo, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful art that this wonderful city has to offer, I will certainly be back again soon!