Essay, Research Paper: Analysis Of Scream


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“The Scream” was painted in the end of the 19th century, and is possibly the
first Expressionist painting. The Scream was very different from the art of the
time, when many artists tried to depict objective reality. Munch was a tortured
soul, and it certainly showed in this painting. Most of his family had died, and
he was often plagued by sickness. The Scream was not a reflection of what was
going on at the time, but rather, Munch’s own "inner hell." It
visualizes a desperate aspect of fin-de-siècle: anxiety and apocalypse. The
percussiveness of the motif shows that it also speaks to our day and age (
Whaley 75 ). When Edvard Much was asked what had inspired him to do this
painting, he replied, “One evening I was walking along a path, the city on one
side of me and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out
across the fjord. The sun was setting, the clouds were turning blood red. I felt
a scream passing through nature. It seemed to me that I could hear the scream. I
painted this picture; painted the clouds as real blood. The colors screamed” (Preble
52). Some people, when they look at this painting, only see a person screaming.
They see the pretty blend of colors, but don’t actually realize what they are
looking at. A lone emaciated figure halts on a bridge clutching his ears, his
eyes and mouth open wide in a scream of anguish. Behind him a couple (his two
"friends") are walking together in the opposite direction. Barely
discernible in the swirling motion of a red-blood sunset and deep blue-black
fjord, are tiny boats at sea, and the suggestion of town buildings ( Preble 53).
This painting was definately the first of its kind, the first Expressionist
painting. People say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s the
case, then “The Scream” is worth a million. It has a message that no other
painting of its time had. Edvard Munch was pouring out his soul onto the canvas.
What we see here, is a glimpse of what Munch was really like inside. When we
really look at the painting, we understand what the artist was feeling at the
time, because it captures nothing but human emotion. It creates a similar mood
in us for a brief moment. The man screaming in the picture seems to feel like
he’s going insane, and that the world is getting to be too much for him. The
two people walking away from him possibly mean that the man feels left out of
everything, or that he doesn’t fit in with the rest of the world. Maybe he
needs help, and his friends weren’t there for him. The piece of artwork speaks
better than actual words to describe it, which makes it something spectacular.
Long after Munch died, the painting remains, and people are still amazed with
it. Why? Because art is all about expressing raw human emotion, and this
painting captures it perfectly. People are scared of things they don’t
understand or cannot relate to. Everyone can relate to what this piece
expresses, and that is why it’s so popular.

BibliographyBirren, Faber. History of Color Painting: New York: Van
Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1965. Preble, Hans Peter. Expressionism. Trans. Mary
Whittall. New York: Oxford University Press, 1972. Whaley, Doug. Edvard Munch-
Father of Expressionism: A Study In Existential Philosophy. New York: Anchor
Books, 1973.

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