Second only to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Edvard Munch’s The Scream may be the most iconic human figure in the history of Western art. The matter of fact is that in 2012 a version created with pastel on cardboard sold to a private collector for nearly $120,000,000 making it the second highest price achieved at that time by a painting at auction.
This painting by Edward Munch’s has fascinated me recently. As depicted in the painting (from my perspective), there is a bridge on a scenic place with blue water flowing down. The place is no doubt beautiful but not crowded. Tourist either enjoying the cool flowing river from the boat or enjoying the cool breeze while taking a stroll on the top of the bridge (there should be mountain cliff on the left hand side of the bridge). So are three friends who probably have come from distant land to visit this place. While two of the friends kept on walking, one of the friends stayed behind momentarily to enjoy the scenery. He puts his shoulder onto the fence of the bridge and starts pondering about his life. Suddenly there was screaming from the guy. This was an internal scream, a scream from heart. The main character in the painting probably represents the buck naked form (soul kind of) human showing raw emotions which gets hidden in the veil of social behavior.
Why there was a scream? This person has come to distant land to enjoy himself. He probably would have enjoyed a great meal with his friend in some cheap yet contemporary hotel around the place. He would have had beer; he would have cracked funny jokes with his friends. After that they would have decided to take a stroll to explore beautiful places in the area. Then why sudden rush of emotions and panic at the bridge? Is it loneliness? Yes, it must be long loneliness. Mother Teresa once said “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved”. He is not alone but he is lonely – in a state of in solitary isolation without his true companion. Phycologists have defined this kind of loneliness as state loneliness. This feeling comes back again and again when he is alone and only has his thoughts to accompany him. Environment does not help. Long rainy day bores him. Vacations are passed by missing the lost one. It’s a curse that hovers around him and there is no escape.
This person would have worn a mask of calmness as a part of his social behavior but exact description of his emotions can only be depicted by $120 million painting by Edward Munch- “The Scream”