Are you familiar with the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch?

Munch paintings

You will at least have seen his work Skrik (Scream) in one of its many forms, if not as a painting, perhaps as a punching bag?

A year ago, one of four original versions of the world-famous painting was sold at Sotheby’s for a record 119.9 million USD, the most expensive work of art ever sold at open auction.

You might have wondered about the inspiration behind this iconic work of art. These are the artist’s own words:

Jeg gikk bortover veien med to venner – så gikk solen ned. Himmelen ble plutselig blodig rød. Jeg stanset, lente meg til gjerdet trett til døden. Over den blåsvarte fjord og by lå blod i ildtunger. Mine venner gikk videre, og jeg sto igjen skjelvende av angst. Og jeg følte det store uendelige skrik gjennom naturen.

I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city. My friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

No wonder Scream comes from here

VisitNorway has a slightly different version:

The prolific artist is the most important Norwegian painter of all time. This year, a gallery of Munch paintings will welcome you to Oslo airport as part of the exhibition Munch150.

Munch paintings

The Munch paintings will be there until October. So be sure to slow down and have a look at the walls when you arrive at OSL this year. If you’ve been here before, you know it can be quite the long walk from the gate to the arrivals hall. Might as well stop for a few minutes for a closer look at the artwork.

Munch paintings

Scream is of course exhibited at OSL – along with Livets dans (The Dance of Life), Pikene på broen (The Girls on the Bridge), Vampyr i skogen (Vampire in the Forest) and more. This is all here to remind international passengers it’s 150 years since the great painter was born and that this will be celebrated around the country all year long. For details, check out Munch150.

Good to know:

On Tuesday, the city government of Oslo finally (after years of discussion) decided to build a new Munch Museum in the harbour area. However, it will be a few years until this signature building is completed. In the meantime, the present Munch Museum is a bit out of the way in the Tøyen area. It can be difficult to find – and, strangely, Munch’s most famous works aren’t always on display here. If you want to see an original Scream, head to the National Gallery in the city centre.

For more photo fun, pop over to this week’s Travel Photo Thursday