‘The Scream’ appears in a tree stump

“I felt as though a vast, endless scream passed through nature,” painter Edvard Munch famously wrote. But he didn't mean it quite as literally as this.

'The Scream' appears in a tree stump
The Scream by Edvard Munch appears in a tree stump. Photo: Kjell Marius Mathisen

"I was just having a walk along the river here, and I just happened to stumble over this stump," Kjell Marius Mathisen, who works with cultural heritage for Oppland county council, told The Local. "It was kind of fun, so I just took a picture and shared it with my friends." 

Despite Munch's poem, Mathisen said he believed the appearance of a near perfect replica of the famous painting 'The Scream'  in nature was "just a coincidence".
He said he had nonetheless been surprised at how many other people saw Munch's motif in the tree's rings. 
"It is very funny that so many different people around the world see the same thing in the stump," he told Norway's NRK network. "Often there are different interpretations of such things, but here everyone's unanimous." 
The Munch Museum posted the picture on its Facebook page, and the picture has already gained 7900 likes. 
"This is the most famous and recognisable piece of art probably in the world, so there's a lot of people who recognise the motif," Mathisen told The Local. 
"This could be the new attraction in Lillehammer, so we should consider a campaign to protect the stump and mount a tourist campaign," he told NRK, his tongue firmly in his cheek. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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