Today is the birthday of Norwegian painter and printmaker, Edvard Munch. Known for his ability to capture all of humankind's anxiety in a single a scream, the artist would turn 149 years old if he were still alive today.
Edvard Munch. The Scream. Pastel on board. 1895.
Munch created four versions of his magnum opus, "The Scream" in the late 1800s and early 1900s, producing two pastels and two paintings (in addition to several lithographs). He was inspired by a particularly bold sunset he experienced in Ekeberg, a city east of Oslo. On that day, Munch is said to have looked out across the water onto the silhouette of Oslo, standing at a point not far from Ekeberg's slaughterhouse and primary asylum. Of that experience, he wrote:
I went along the road with two friends --
The sun set
Suddenly the sky became blood -- and I felt the breath of sadness
A tearing pain beneath my heart
I stopped -- leaned against the fence -- deathly tired
Clouds over the fjord of blood dripped reeking with blood
My friends went on but I just stood trembling with an open wound
in my breast
trembling with anxietyI heard a huge extraordinary
scream pass through nature
Munch's harrowing image fetched nearly $120 million at Christie's this year, making it the most expensive work of art to ever sell at auction.
We would like to celebrate the artist with a collection of, well, screams. Scroll the slideshow below to view some of the world's other famous screams and let us know how you will be celebrating the artist's birthday in the comments section.