Edvard Munch: Wrong message on “The Scream” is from the master himself


It is one of the most famous modern paintings in the world. And now it’s getting even more iconic!

Because, according to the latest research, it is clear who wrote the mysterious scribble “Can only have been painted by a madman” on the “scream” of the artist Edvard Munch († 1944) comes from: namely clearly from himself! The Norwegian National Museum in Oslo announced on Monday.

“Kan kun være paints af en gal Mand!”, is written in Norwegian in the upper left corner of the original “Schrei” from 1893 – which translates as: “Can only have been painted by a madman!”

The sentence, barely noticeable to the naked eye, was written in pencil on the color of the painting after Munch had finished the work – and reveals a good dose of sarcasm from its creator.



There it is: “Kan kun være malet af en gal Mand!” (Can only have been painted by a madman!) – Munch wrote the sentence in pencil on the oil paintPhoto: Boerre Hoestland / The NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NORWAY / AFP


If you look closely, you can see the dark gray sentence under the white wave at the top left

If you look closely, you can see the dark gray sentence under the white wave at the top leftPhoto: Boerre Hoestland / The NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NORWAY / AFP

The origin of the sentence has long been puzzled. In preparation for the installation of the work in the new National Museum, which is due to open in Oslo in 2022, the original from 1893 was thoroughly examined.

Both the manuscript itself and events from the time of its creation left no doubt that the inscription came from Munch, the National Museum said on Monday.


If you don't know that the sentence “Kan kun være malet af en gal Mand!” Is there, you won't see anything without infrared help

If you don’t know that the sentence “Kan kun være malet af en gal Mand!” Is there, you won’t see anything without infrared helpPhoto: Boerre Hoestland / The NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NORWAY / AFP

► “The Scream” is one of the most famous motifs in art history. Between 1893 and 1910, Munch painted a total of four versions of these paintings; besides the original, the later version from 1910 is one of the most famous of these paintings.

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