The Scream – Edvard Munch’s Oslo


The Scream – Edvard Munch's Oslo.

No work of art has ever had such a profound effect on me as ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch. Let me make it perfectly clear that I will never be in a position to have a conversation with any of you about the use of colour or shadowing or any other painting lingo. What I can talk about however, is how every single time I see this painting on canvas or print in some form or another, I am inundated with emotion and it quite literally inspires me to write.

For those unfamiliar with the painting, it depicts a silent scream. A man standing on a bridge with a dusky red sky behind him and a haunted look on his face. A look that has never left me since I first spied a glimpse at the painting at the impressionable age of 12 in the art room in school. Even now, I will never forget the feelings it stirred within. It created a truly frightening nape of the neck shiver, I didn’t know it then, but what I needed to do was to write. I was pulled into the painting, I opened my mouth to echo his scream, a scream to pierce through the decades. The author of the above blog retraced the steps of Edvard Munch to pinpoint the exact spot where inspiration struck. Munch was affected heavily by the world around him, scarred internally from living through more bereavement that anyone should have to, his family 19th Century victims of TB. He was inspired by his bereavement and inner turmoil which is often when writers are at their best also and this led him to create haunting, harrowing works of art.

This refers back to an earlier blog post on the frequency and quality of writing when in a darker state of mind than is usual. Inspiration is literally climbing up out of the ground, drifting lazily in front of our eyes, clawing its way out of paintings, book covers and television screens. On a dismal afternoon, coated in grey, sometimes a single raindrop sailing down the windowpane of the car is all the inspiration we need and our weapon of choice, be it a pen or a paintbrush, is in a frenzy.

Munch was motivated by the weight of the misery which he carried in his heart and on his shoulders, he in turn inspires others in their craft from the feelings which his work evokes in others. It’s an endless circle. As writers and indeed as members of the creative crafts, we will always need to draw inspiration from somewhere, something will give us a flash of nostalgia and it’s enough to get the creative juices flowing. For as long as I live, I truly believe ‘The Scream’ will always be my secret weapon. For that, thank you Edvard Munch….. and thank you to the blogger above, im off to tackle ‘The Fall of The Fairytale’. My unfinished business has been inspired.

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2 thoughts on “The Scream – Edvard Munch’s Oslo

  1. I saw the paint when it was on loan to Dublin’s National Gallery. I also thought it fascinating but the man who accompanied me couldn’t see what I felt. Excellent analogy especially about the falling raindrop on the car.

    great post, thanks


    • Thanks for your kind words Olive, really inspirational to know that I’m reaching a wider audience. I truly envy you your experience in seeing the painting, perhaps one day for me!

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