Munch show draws double expected visitors

The exhibition held to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch drew in more than twice as many visitors as expected and raised over 7m kroner ($1.1m) in revenue, the organizers have said.

Munch show draws double expected visitors
Edvard Munch: The Scream
So far, 485,000 people have visited the Munch 150 exhibition, which is divided between Olso's Munch Museum and its National Museum, more than twice the 240,000 originally hoped for. 
"It's about the same number that visited 'The Modern Eye' Munch exhibition in Paris last year," Audun Eckhoff, director of the National Museum, told Norwegian state broadcaster NRK.
"That we in Oslo can get something like that, without the number of tourists and the central location of Paris, is amazing." 
Munch, who is most famous for painting 'The Scream', was born on December 12th 1863 at a farm near the town of Elverum. 
On Thursday, the actual anniversary, Elverum will host  a huge celebration in its Terningen Arena, which will be attended among others by Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgård. 

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Munch wrote ‘madman’ tag on ‘Scream’ painting, museum rules

A mysterious inscription on Edvard Munch's famed painting "The Scream" has baffled the art world for years, but Norwegian experts have now concluded it was written by none other than the artist himself.

Munch wrote 'madman' tag on 'Scream' painting, museum rules
File photo: AFP

Barely visible to the naked eye, the phrase “Can only have been painted by a madman” is written in pencil in Norwegian in the upper left corner of the iconic artwork.

The dark painting from 1893, now a symbol of existential angst, depicts a humanlike figure standing on a bridge, clutching its head in apparent horror against the backdrop of a swirling sky.

The author of the phrase has long been a mystery, with the main theory until now holding that it was a disgruntled viewer who penned it at the beginning of the 20th century on one of the four versions made by Munch.

But, using infrared technology to analyse the handwriting, experts at Norway’s National Museum have now concluded that it was the artist himself. 

“The writing is without a doubt Munch’s own,” museum curator Mai Britt Guleng said in a statement.

“The handwriting itself, as well as events that happened in 1895, when Munch showed the painting in Norway for the first time, all point in the same direction.”

The first showing of the work to the public in Oslo — then known as Kristiania — provoked furious criticism and raised questions about Munch’s mental state, which, according to Guleng, likely prompted Munch to write the inscription on the canvas shortly afterwards.

A pioneer of expressionism, Munch was haunted by the premature deaths of several family members, including his mother and his sister Johanne Sophie, due to illness. In 1908, he was temporarily committed to a psychiatric hospital.

This version of “The Scream” was stolen in 1994, the opening day of the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer. It was recovered several months later.

The masterpiece will again go on display when the National Museum reopens in a new building in 2022.

READ ALSO: ‘The Scream’: newly-released Munch originals reveal different look