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The secret message scrawled on ‘The Scream’ has finally been deciphered

Scans have revealed that the hidden message at the top left-hand corner of The Scream was written by Edvard Munch himself.

The Scream is an accurate depiction of our faces when we found out there was a hidden message in the famous artwork, let alone when we found out that it was put there by the artist himself, Edvard Munch.

New scans performed at the National Museum of Norway have confirmed that the secret message on the iconic piece was in fact of Munch’s own hand.

Scream
Photo: Norwegian Museum of Decorative Arts and Design

It has been debated for many years whether this message was an act of vandalism or whether it was Munch himself. However, after further investigation using infrared technology and handwriting analysis with the artist’s notes, they were able to confirm that it was indeed Edvard Munch.

That secret message reads: “Can only have been painted by a madman.” I mean, he’s not wrong.

Created in 1893, Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature) depicts a man in agony. This unsettling artwork has gone on to become one of the most recognisable pieces ever created.

The piece even inspired the iconic 1996 horror movie Scream, a movie so transcending in modern horror cinema that it’s funny to think it all came from a picture of a guy looking a bit shocked.

As for the inspiration behind the painting, Munch apparently had been on a walk when he got the idea for the artwork, seeing vivid red lights in the sky, which possibly could have been caused by the eruption of Krakatoa.

“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,” he said of the painting.

He continued saying “my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.” Munch suffered from severe mental health issues, most notably anxiety, but he believed he was not himself without these sufferings, that “I am a ship without a rudder.”

“My fear of life is necessary to me, as is my illness,” he added, “my sufferings are part of my self and my art. They are indistinguishable from me, and their destruction would destroy my art.”