OSLO – Remember the famous Edvard Munch image of The Scream? Well, that’s it at left. At least, that’s how it looked to me on first glimpse at the Munchmuseet, a highlight of this Norwegian capital.
A while back, thieves stole The Scream and another painting, Madonna, from this museum. Both eventually were recovered and again placed on display. But The Scream suffered damage. And so when I entered the small room where it hangs, I found nothing but darkness, so much that I began to leave. Suddenly, an unseen guard said:
‘No, wait. Magic will happen.’
As I inched again into the room, a motion-sensor was triggered, and The Scream emerged from the blackness. The 1893 oil painting’s bright colored swirls were more brilliant, more moving in person than in any reproduction – so much more expressive than Munch’s black and white lithograph of the same image. True magic.
A ban on photography in that room precludes showing any but the “before” picture. But the photo at right of the other formerly stolen painting, Madonna, serves to remind of Munch’s eerie genius.
(Thanks to Cecilia Marcela Bailliet and her colleagues at the University of Oslo PluriCourts project for the opportunity to visit and take part in a brilliant conference.)