The Scream Painting

WHO WAs edvard munch?

Munch started art from a young age and struggled with various health problems growing up. He was known for living and expressing himself as a bohemian.

The Scream in context

The famous Scream painting by Edvard Munch has long been one of the Norwegian artist’s seminal artworks, touching on the deep trenches of human existence and spirituality.

historical overview

The famous Scream painting, the one we all have come to know, is most probably the 1893 version made from tempera and crayon media on cardboard.

The Frieze of life series

The Scream painting itself was made as part of a series of other paintings that comprised The Frieze of Life series. The series reportedly consisted of around six paintings that now comprise 22 paintings.

it started with a walk

About the work, Munch said “I was walking along the road with two friends – then the Sun set – all at once the sky became blood red – and I felt overcome with melancholy"

volcanoes and ashen sunsets

The volcano on the Krakatoa Island in Indonesia erupted in 1883. The effects from the volcanic ash were visible in the skies, making blood-red sunsets, which became the subject for paintings too.

munch and mummies

Art historian Robert Rosenblum postulated that Munch may have found inspiration from a Peruvian mummy to portray his central figure in the painting.

subject matter

Munch depicts his main character in the central foreground, standing with his or her hands cupping the side of their face with their mouth agape. This figure has also been described as “sexless”.

color and brushstroke

The dominant colors are reds, oranges, greens, blues, browns, and various hints of blacks. The colors are not overwhelmingly bright and Munch provides a scene with earthy tones.


Munch utilized a strong sense of line in The Scream painting, and coupled with his swirling brushstrokes, again he emphasizes his internal state rather than the external.


The central figure has caused quite the sensation in films, television series, books, art, and our 21st century social media emojis.

bohemian at heart

Munch has been described as a bohemian and had drinking problems that undoubtedly exacerbated his anxiety and depressive states. During the early 1900s, he stayed at a mental institution.