Since we’re on the topic of Munch today, we thought we’d take a look at how this enigmatic and deeply depressive artist’s most famous work has become one of the most influential and most recognizable in pop-culture. It’s an image that writers and filmmakers can’t seem to shake and we know, you know exactly which one we’re talking about…
Painted in 1883, The Scream is by and far Edvard Munch’s most famous work, made even more famous after two separate museum heists stole two different copies of the painting in a ten-year time-span (both were thankfully recovered). But what is it about The Scream that has kept our attention all these years? Munch painted the work during one of his most prolific times as an artist, a time when he was exploring themes of fear, death, melancholy and loneliness. The Scream, well, screams all those themes in its bold brushstrokes, striking color and above all, the captivating subject of the hollow, frightened and frightening figure on the bridge. A figure we all can relate to at some point in our lives.
The most well known film to portray The Scream is the cleverly titled Scream. If you haven’t seen Scream, or its subsequent sequels, the film takes place in a small town where a series of violent murders are taking place. Killers wearing masks of Munch’s screaming figure commit the murders, hunting down attractive teenagers as their prey.
In 2006, M&M’s launched a campaign featuring The Scream for its dark chocolate candies. They also offered a reward of two million M&Ms to the person who ensured the safe return of the Scream that was stolen in 2004. The painting was recovered days later, it is unknown if the candy prize was what sealed the deal but we like to think so.
Philip K. Dick wrote some of the strangest works of fiction ever to be published. Is it any surprise that he chose to set a pivotal scene in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep at a Munch exhibit featuring The Scream? You may not have read DADoES (you should, it’s great) but perhaps you saw the film version, the much less quirkily named, Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott.
Read more about Edvard Munch and take a walk in his footsteps with Art + Travel.