Edvard Munch

This painting, usually called The Scream, said to represent the skies of Norway after the cataclysmic volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in 1883-4.

Although some scholars dispute this, I like to believe this explanation because the Krakatoa eruption is extremely interesting to me, and from what I have read about the colours of skies during that year, the explanation is entirely plausible.

In a page in his diary headed Nice 22.01.1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image as:

I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.
Read more about the painting here, and Krakatoa here.

Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature), 1893

Oil, tempera and pastel on cardboard



2 responses to “Edvard Munch

  1. Of note: About Karakatoa
    “From Technology and Culture: The Search for Immortality”
    Mary Shelley’s story of Victor Frankenstein came about as the result of a bet among the circle of people who joined Lord Byron, Doctor Polidori and actress Claire Clarmont, at Lake Geneva. Percy and Mary Shelley were neighbors and frequented Byron’s villa. There were many dreary days of rain due, as it turns out, to a volcanic eruption months earlier in the region of Java. With little chance to enjoy the outdoors at Lake Geneva, Lord Byron read aloud, during those endless rainy days at his Villa Diodati. In particular he read a German ghost story, adding to the somber atmosphere.
    Munch was not the only person to be inspired by the volcanos eruption.

    Mary Shelly went on to win the bet when she dreamed and then wrote the story of Frankenstein.

    Ah, romanticism.

    • Interesting. I was watching Seinfeld today and found out that Seinfeld was duped by Kramer into donating money for a volcano relief fund for Krakatoa, and he got into trouble with the IRS.

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