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Anxiety Paintings > The Scream

The Scream

The Scream, 1893
Tempera and pastel on board
91 x 73.5 cm

Related Works

The Scream (lithograph)
The Scream (ASCII Art)

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Dragonfly wrote on June 7, 2005:
Hidden Meanings
In college I studied Munch quite extensively, and am of the mindset that Munch's anxiety, as portrayed in "The Scream", was in large part due to Munch's agoraphobia. The main figure is in a vast expanse of open space, and feels overwhelmed. Sometimes when searching for hidden meanings one must look very closely at the obvious. I am sure Munch would have had an extremely hard time with some of the locales I frequent, as there are many vast open areas in nature that I enjoy. Munch would have difficulties in the borderland between exhibiting his work, and being a public figure, while in his anxiety ridden mind he tended towards reclusivity. A nice enclosed space, a lodge perhaps, would have suited him better, cozy by the fire, instead of out in the vast expanse of sky and ground.

Marco Lopes wrote on Feb 7, 2004:
Pictures of Bridge
I´m studying this picture at school and I would love to get some real pictures from the bridge that Munch painted so many times. The problem is that I don´t know where to look for them. Can anybody help me?

My email is

I will apreciate any kind of information. Thanks.

Onon wrote on Jan 14, 2004:
The Human emotion
At my first year in our art course, I drew a lady who had her eyes closed with a face that showed fear, yet very calm. Then I used powerful and expressive colors such as red, dark blue and orange. It was exactly what I felt. I was amazed at the similarity when my art teacher pointed out this marvelous painting of Munch's. I immediately felt close to the artist in a way I cannot express. I never knew about this painting nor did I know of the artist. Yet I somehow painted something with the idea that was too similar to this one. I love him! He became my favorite artist straight away. This is one of the paintings where even the people who don't understand paintings can actually relate to.

Harry wrote on Mar 12, 2002:

I'm studying the scream for my A level art class and I think that the similarity between Munch's artistic vision materialized through his painting and Francis Bacon's vision in his paintings is quite incredible. Munch expresses an indefinable emotion in such an expressive way.

Enis Dogan wrote on Mar 4, 2002:
The Mind
What I see in this picture is like a reaction to life. I'll hang it on my wall and I'll put these words under it: "...the mind ... the mind is a terrible thing."

Vivaswan Verawudh wrote on Mar 1, 2002:

This is the only picture that makes me understand the definition of "art"... without having to know the conventional meaning of it. I never feel this close to a piece of art, so close that I feel like I'm the person in the picture. It's gender-free, with it's free form, pure expressive figure, it could be anyone...

Cheng Cheng wrote on Feb 6, 2002:
I'm doing my art coursework based on the theme "emotions" so my art teacher told me to research this Edward Munch painting today. My art examination piece is also someone screaming: but it's a teenage girl, and she's screaming for freedom. Now I'm gonna include Munch into my documentations. All you peoples' criticisms are really useful, so thanks a million to all who criticized!

Teen Spirit wrote on Jan 11, 2002:
It's interesting how everyone has a different perception and interpretation of this piece of artwork. Many believe the person in the image is projecting a silent scream that cannot be heard; others can recognize that the action of the person's ears being covered suggests that it's not the person who is screaming but, as mentioned, the scream comes from nature's anxieties of life which distressingly is heard by the one person, while the others are deafened and not aware of it. It would probably create a little anxiety to you, the audience, looking at this artwork... what's amazing about it is the fact that it creates such multiple meanings, yet conveys a universal emotion that is recognized and experienced by all.

Kate wrote on Jan 7, 2002:

From a young age I automatically dismissed The Scream because it represented to me an over-used method of advertising cheap products and totally melodramatic and unrealistic ideas. It is such a shame that I, a teenager, have grown up thinking this about such an inspiring piece. The Scream is clearly much deeper than the majority could know, what a shame to exploit it in this way.

Aubrey wrote on Dec 14, 2001:

This picture, since the first day I saw it, has been my favorite. I don't believe that the man himself is screaming. It's his inner self, the person he's keeping locked away inside, coming out to show the torment and frustration life can bring onto people. We all know this feeling, and we all hold it inside of ourselves.

Martin Koldijk wrote on Nov 23, 2001:
ART 2850a with David Coman at the University of Lethbridge
I was sitting in our computer lab at the university of Lethbridge ( seeking inspiration for a paper and then it came to me, my anxiety, defined by The Scream... I feel that The Scream is cathartic and helps struggling, starving students all over the world, write art papers. Thanks Edvard!

Alexandra T wrote on Nov 14, 2001:
He Has Done What We All Feel
Edvard Munch's painting of this is a direct symbolism of what myself and so many other people feel like at various times in our lives. To me this resembles my inner reaction when everything just gets to me - frustration, annoyance, anger - it really is an "inner scream."

Bill Price wrote on Oct 1, 2001:

This painting holds special meaning for me because it awoke my awareness of art. Seeing it hanging on the wall every day in Algebra when I was in 7th grade gave me something to think about whenever we weren't busy working. I saw how a painting as unrealistic as this could express such a rush of pure emotion- as is the goal of expressionism. In conclusion, this painting is so brilliantly executed that even 67 years after Munch's death, it's still infamous.
Now I had better go back to researching his life before my teacher sees me typing this...

Medusa wrote on Sep 18, 2001:

Do you not realize... that the man in the picture, Munch, is not screaming? He is feeling and listening to the scream that is has pierced nature with his soul. Look at the contrast between his body shape and the shape of his friends who have "walked on". Munch's body has become distorted along with the flow of the river and the skies. This is a painting about madness and despair and the collapse of one's universe and sanity. Indeed, this is a painting that could only be produced by someone who knew madness and was mad himself. I love it. (Please read the commentary by Munch on this painting.)

Conor Reilly wrote on Aug 26, 2001:
"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," by Philip K. Dick
"At an oil painting Phil Resch halted, gazed intently. The painting showed a hairless, oppressed creature with a head like an inverted pear, its hands clapped in horror to its ears, its mouth open in a vast, soundless scream. Twisted ripples of the creature's torment, echoes of its cry, flooded out into the air surrounding it; the man or woman, whichever it was, had been contained by its own howl. It had covered its ears against its own sound. The creature stood on a bridge and no one else was present; the creature screamed in isolation. Cut off by-or despite-its outcry."

Sara De Cesare wrote on Aug 23, 2001:
My first feeling
The first time I saw "the Scream" I was just 12 years old. I was studying history of art at school. It was the first real time that a picture struck me, and from then on it is still my favorite picture. Even if I don't share the feeling that the picture gives.

Hayley wrote on Jul 12, 2001:
This picture is great!!!!
Hi my name is Hayley and I'm 13. I've never really been a good artist and I especially have trouble with self portraits. Last year I told myself I wasn't good enough and nearly gave up. This was until I saw Edvard's paintings. This one is my favourite. It has so much meaning about how his life was. I read a biography on him and some of the things he went through in life were so awful and I think he had the right to express the emotion in his life. I would like to thank him for inspiring me to keep going with my art work and may his artwork never be forgotten.

Robert wrote on Jul 1, 2001:
The other two
What strikes me about this painting is the normality of everything else besides the man screaming. It's a sort of inner scream we all feel sometimes when an agony that we must keep silent about comes to a head. Unless we are insane, we keep the resulting desire to scream in despair and fear inside. We are torn apart inside while outside everything goes on as normal. This painting captures both the inner scream and the normality around us as nothing I have seen before.

Hannah Stuttard wrote on Apr 22, 2001:

"I was out walking with two friends - the sun began to set - suddenly the sky turned blood-red - I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on a fence - there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city - my friends walked on, and there I still stood, trembling with fear - and I sensed an endless scream passing through nature." -
Here the painter of The Scream, Edvard Munch, provides us with the insight into the inspiration for one of his most prolific works, in a poetic and chilling anecdote. The work expresses the loneliness and awful despair felt by Munch, on realization of the might of the natural world in comparison to a single human being. He is tortured by man's insignificance and haunted by his fettered state of mind. Undulating strokes of paint echo the hollow mouth of the figure, creating an ominous shadow of the cove and the hellish streaks of sky beckoning - from above. The colours are menacing and evocative, creating an air of expectancy in the background; the brewing of the climax that is the scream in the foreground. The brush strokes for the basis of the painting are sweeping and cloying, trapping the man within the scene. In contrast a sharp diagonal of the bridge railing cuts across so the emotion is expressed darting towards and through the man, then past out of painting again: the - endless scream - Munch describes. Its importance to the composition is enhanced by its fiery colour; the same shade as parts of the sky.

Mike wrote on Apr 14, 2001:

The piece's name is the perfect conveyer of the emotion that Munch seems to want to relay to its viewers. It is one of sheer panic and despair. Look at the strong diagonal of the bridge jutting out towards the viewer. Look at the rapid swirling motion of the landscape, and the wild colors Munch has used. There is so much action going on in this painting, and then amongst all the chaos, standing in the center of the piece is our subject; simply depicted, no extreme facial features, standing, screaming.... Munch has created a masterpiece.

Brian Poulsen wrote on Apr 4, 2001:
It really touched me
I'm writing an essay on munch and I'm trying to define this picture and I have recently been at a museum in Denmark where this picture was. All I want to say is that it really touched me and I now see art in a whole new way.

Alan wrote on Mar 20, 2001:
I'm just a kid, so I know my opinion doesn't matter, but I think this is an awesome painting.

Greg wrote on Feb 23, 2001:
When I showed this picture to my Indian acquaintance she burst out: "That is the picture from MTV!" And I replied: "Well, MTV did not make the picture!"
Art has certainly gotten new ways of reaching youths!

Monica wrote on Feb 16, 2001:

Despite all the motion in this painting,there is a stillness about it that haunts me. It is my worst nightmare come true: you scream and scream but no one can hear you.

Jill wrote on Jan 19, 2001:

This is my favourite painting in the whole wide world, when I look at it I can see pain and terror in the his face, like the world is about to explode. I can see true emotion used here, every possible feeling that one may have is screaming out of this painting.
Its like a magnificent ray of fireworks, the most powerful colours are used to portray rays of emotion that actually reach out and call to you. I could stare at this painting for hours and never truly understand it, its strength is moving.

Alessia wrote on Jan 12, 2001:

This is my favourite painting cause Munch was able to express the despair and the pain of man's life. I think that everybody can identify themselves with this man who screams in almost one of the moments of life. Sorry for my bad english: I'm italian!!

Nina Harp wrote on Jan 6, 2001:
The Scream
When he painted this I remember him describing the scene: he was walking with two other friends (the 2 regular humans in this painting) and this was when he was going through paranoia. Suddenly he heard this scream from nature and he had to stop and almost collapsed of the fright it instilled in him. Some think since this was painted in France that he might have gone to their art museum and saw the remains of a mummy that looked like this figure.

Rosanne Naylor wrote on Nov 4, 2000:
This picture to me drips pure emotion. Munch's own personal despair went into this painting. The loneliness of the figure and the violent swirling colours seem to jump off the painting in a dramatic, aggressive attack.

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Picture: Edvard Munch: The Frieze of Life.