What art gallery is the scream in

Edvard Munch hid a message in his picture

"Kan kun være paints af en gal Mand!" Wrote the Norwegian painter on his most famous painting "The Scream": "Could only have been painted by a madman!" Infrared recordings at the Norwegian National Museum in Oslo.

The inscription has always been visible to the naked eye, says the curator in charge, Mai Britt Guleng, but the infrared images now help to distinguish the writing more clearly from its background. The comparison with the artist's handwriting then clearly proved Munch's authorship, she explains in a press release.

The lettering was first noticed in 1904, eleven years after the picture was created. At that time the work of art was exhibited in Copenhagen. Critics assumed that an indignant viewer had spoiled the painting.

In fact, the Expressionist work provoked discussions from the start, in which Munch's state of mind was openly discussed even in the presence of Munch. Guleng quotes the art critic and museum director Henrik Grosch, who wrote at the beginning of the 20th century that, in view of this picture, Munch could "no longer be viewed as a reasonable person with a normal brain." That was a common opinion.

Diary entries and letters from Munch would show that the artist suffered from this ascription. “Munch was also concerned about hereditary diseases in general. Both his grandfather and his father suffered from melancholy, as it was called back then, ”says Guleng. Munch's sister Laura was also temporarily treated in psychiatry.

The "Scream" was first exhibited in October 1895 in a private art gallery in Christiana, now Oslo. The note on the "Schrei" was possibly created directly after a student club event where the participants debated the image and Munch's mental state. "The inscription can be understood as an ironic comment, but also as an expression of the artist's vulnerability," says Guleng. There are a total of four versions of the "Schrei", only one of which contains the sentence.