Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Softening The Cry

Edvard Munch's only famous painting is known as "The Scream", because the Norwegian word "skrik" is very difficult to translate, though "The Shriek" would be a much closer equivalent - and anyway that wasn't what Munch called any of the four versions that he painted between 1893 and 1910 - he called the series "Der Schrei der Natur" ("The Scream of Nature"). Two were painted in tempera on cardboard, one in pastel on cardboard, and one in crayon on cardboard, while about fifty prints were made from Munch's lithograph before his printer wilfully and deliberately erased the stone - the value of a valuable print increases according to its rarity. You can see all four versions, with some commentary on the differences between them, by clicking here.

For myself, I always found the cry too piercing, and felt the need to soften it, though my version also enhances the background, making the cliff more ominously obvious and adding a touch of Nature to the lake. Now that I have had the chance to spend many weeks studying the originals in order to make my version, I am left wondering whether the hallucinogenic swirls were not an outcome of laudanum rather than the metaphorical expression of the anguish of the psyche, or both, if you have seen the movie "Love and Mercy" and witnessed Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys doing much the same as Roger Waters on Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", and Coleridge, unquestionably, while writing "Kubla Khan".

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