Saving the Scream

Published May 18, 2020

How bare would college walls be without Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”? But the original — well, one of the originals — is in dire straits.

Munch experimented with colors before he got the look he wanted, but the paints he used were new at the time and are not aging well. An “international coalition” studied the chemistry of the cadmium-sulfide-based colors and concluded … moisture is the issue.

Now they’re working to preserve the painting and others of the same era.

The best-known Scream was stolen in 2004 (for the second time) and recovered in 2006. Today it’s hidden from the public, “preserved in a protected storage area in the Munch Museum.” Which kind of makes you wonder what’s the point of art if no one can see it….

Did you know there were five versions? The best known is on the left.

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