'The Scream' by Edvard Munch

For my GCSE and currently for my A levels i am using this as one of my artist studies that guide to me create my final piece. My school makes us write essays on each of the artist, heres mine.

This is on the composition, colour and materials used.

Comment back on the it! Thank you :)

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Preview of 'The Scream' by Edvard Munch

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Edvard Munich painted `The Scream' between 1893 and 1910, he did several versions using a range of
materials such as oil, pastel and litograpgh. The site of which the painting was created from was from the
view of a side of a road called "Valhallveien" on a hill above Oslo. Munch was an expressive artist who I
think used colour, brush marks, image and shapes all flow into this one thought of fear, sympathy and
silence. The painting is originally called Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature) but it often called `The
Cry'. I read that the person in the painting is not actually screaming suggesting they are feeling and
listening to the scream that pierced nature with their soul. This painting captures the inner scream and
normality around us and demonstrates madness and despair and the collapse of someone's universe and
The contrast between his body shapes of his friends who have `walked on' suggest isolation and the
figures body has become distorted with the flow of the skies and river. The painting is structured around
the bridge and figure to create twisted ripples which become flooded into the surroundings which I
believe proposes echoes of its cry. Munch used a scale change to create depth and distance, the figure
being the centre of attention and from there everything moving diagonally getting smaller the closer
you got to the top of the painting. Munch also reduced negative space by making the painting out of
frame making us feel as if we are also examining the feeling. Parts of the painting are overlapped such as
river and sky which also creates depth within the painting. Munch uses a vast amount of distortion as he
changes the shape of people and objects to revolve around the figures projected silent scream which is
used as an echo throughout the painting to create waves. Munch has used a lateral view point for the
figure to create contrast directly in front; he also used an immense amount of lines as he used curves and
contrasting diagonals. An obvious sharp diagonal is the bridge railing which I think cuts across so the
emotion of the figure is expressed darting towards and through the man, then passes out of the painting
I read that `The scream' was set during a sun down time of which the sky seemed to have turned `blood
red' implying his depression and sorrow. The colours blue and orange and black are menacing and
reminiscent, creating an air of suspense in the background. The bridge has an importance to the painting as
the composition is improved by its fiery colour; the same shade as the parts of the sky implying social
communication yet pessimism as it is a negative colour and orange is psychologically thought to offer
emotional strength in difficult times and helps us bounce back from disappointment and despair but can
also show tension and unsociable. Whereas blue suggests trust, honesty and loyalty, it is sincere, reserved
and quiet yet it can also show emotional instability and weakness which is what Munch is suggesting. By
mixing the two opposite colours it shows the desire to scream in despair and fair inside but instead
keeping it in. The tonal differences revolve around the bridge and figure as sections are dark such as the
figure and the river in comparison to the sky which has a warm palette but overall Munich has used a
restricted palette of colours which are invented according to his feelings but the colours are
representational to the sight he had witnessed but may have been exaggerated in particular sections due
to his imagination and mixed emotions.
Munch used oil, tempera and pastel to paint `The Scream. He used visible expressive marks to show
twisting ripples of the figures distress and echoing cry which surrounds it and the form is therefore
contained by its own howl. This is created by a thin opaque layer of paint to describe the form.


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