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Does Munch's ‘The Scream’ hail from Florence?

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Urlo_Munch

Does Munch's ‘The Scream’ hail from Florence?

Munch's 'The Scream' is probably one of the most famous and best-known paintings in the world. It was painted in 1893 and, as the artist himself wrote, was inspired by the feeling of anguish and fear caused by a sunset. I imagine you can all picture it in your mind: in the foreground there is a human figure with hands held to the face that screams, a scream that conveys amazement, fear and anguish. Sensations amplified also by the curved and distorted lines of the landscape that is all but unreal.

Art critics have always argued that to depict the anguished pose of the screaming man, Munch drew inspiration from a mummy housed in Paris’ 'Musée de l'homme'. Looking at it well, however, something isn’t looking right. In fact, the expression (as far as we can talk of expression with a mummy) is different and the hands brought to the face are not stretched but closed in a fist. In fact, this is not the mummy that inspired Edward Munch!

The one the painter had in mind for the expression and posture is in fact to be found in the Museum of Paleontology and Anthropology of Florence. If you look at the picture on the side you will see that it is really the same! Well, I know the subject is not particularly appealing and slightly off-putting, but we couldn’t help but show it to you! Be brave and look at it: the position of the hands, stretched and held on the face, is identical, even the slight inclination of the head to the left is reflected in the painting by Munch! And what about the expression that conveys the same mixture of astonishment, fear and anguish? Are you wondering how it is possible? Easy: the Swedish painter often stayed in Fiesole and Florence and certainly had the opportunity to see that mummy which, evidently, stuck in his mind. If you have looked at the picture on the side without too much trouble, if mysteries and spooky things intrigue you, then we recommend our 'Florence Tour of fear': noir mystery stories and ghosts to discover a city which, we can aptly say, is a real scream!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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