Offbeat The author of the offensive entry on "Le Cri"? Munch himself, finds a museum
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"Can only have been painted by a madman": As derogatory as it is imperceptible, the inscription added to "Le Cri" was not drawn by anyone other than the artist himself, Edvard Munch, concluded the National Museum of Norway.
Written in pencil in the left corner at the top of the iconic canvas, which has become a symbol of existential angst, the few words in Norwegian have long fueled conjectures on the identity of their author.
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The dominant theory until now has been that they were the legacy of an indignant spectator, at the turn of the twentieth century, by the work which represents a ghostly figure with a pale face in front of celestial vaults in bright colors.
But an examination by infrared thermography, carried out by the National Museum of Norway which has the concerned version of the "Scream" -Munch (1863-1944) carried out four - in its collections, led to another conclusion.
"The inscription is definitely by Munch," curator Mai Britt Guleng said in a statement released by the museum on Monday.
"The writing itself, as well as the events that occurred in 1895 when Munch first showed the painting in Norway, all point in the same direction," she added.
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The work's first presentation to the public in Oslo - then called Kristiania - that year drew criticism and raised questions about the artist's mental health, which Ms Guleng said led without doubt this one to scribble on the board.
A pioneer of expressionism, Munch was haunted by the feeling of anguish fueled by the untimely death of those close to him, notably that of his mother and his sister Johanne Sophie, who had died from illness. In 1908, he was even temporarily placed in a psychiatric establishment.
This version of the "Scream" was stolen in 1994, on the opening day of the Lillehammer Winter Olympics, before being found a few months later.
The canvas will be exhibited again to the public on the occasion of the opening scheduled for 2022 of the National Museum of Norway, which will bring together the collections of several establishments.
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