x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Never-ending Scream

The Scream has meant many things to many people since it was conceived in the 19th centry.

Some works of art reflect their time; Pablo Picasso's Guernica, his take on the horrors of Spanish civil war, is such a painting. Edvard Munch's masterpiece, The Scream, on the other hand, seems to reinvent itself across the decades, finding renewed relevance to different generations of art lovers.

Its lasting significance was highlighted last week when it was announced that one of four versions of The Scream will be auctioned in May at Sotheby's in New York. It is expected to fetch about $80 million (Dh294 million).

Munch said that he was inspired to paint The Scream after witnessing a blood red sunset while taking a walk with friends. "I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature," the Norwegian artist noted in his diary in 1892. Since then it has become a lasting symbol of human anguish, inspiring many explanations and reinterpretations.

In 1967, a version by Munch's countryman Erro, called The Second Scream, referred to the occupation of Norway during the Second World War. The image has also featured in many pop-culture works, from Andy Warhol to The Simpsons.

Today, it might be seen to convey the sense of turmoil that engulfs the world, from the financial downturn to bloody demonstrations for basic justice. A scream, it seems, always holds true.