Artist: Edvard Munch (Norwegian, Løten 1863–1944 Ekely)
Dimensions: Image: 14 1/16 x 9 5/16 in. (35.7 x 23.6 cm)
Sheet: 20 1/4 x 15 5/8 in. (51.4 x 39.7 cm)
Credit Line: Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982
Accession Number: 1984.1203.1
The extreme familiarity of this image today makes it hard to realize how shocking it and other works by Munch were when they were created slightly over a hundred years ago. Munch's art represented his own emotions, mostly the darker ones of fear, dread, loneliness, and sexual longing, with extraordinary expressiveness. The screaming figure personifies existential horror. A precursor of this image is a drawing of a man (Munch himself) on a similar bridge, with a blood-red sky above. A text accompanying this drawing states: "I walked with two friends. Then the sun sank. Suddenly the sky turned as red as blood ... My friends walked on, and I was left alone, trembling with fear. I felt as if all nature were filled with one mighty unending shriek."