Example Of Edvard Munch’s The Scream Critical Thinking
Edvard Munch completed The Scream in 1893. Munch used oil, tempera, and pastel as mediums on cardboard. The Scream depicts a man standing on a bridge with the water and the horizon in the scenery. In the painting, there are people behind the man on the bridge – two individuals walking by the bridge and others rowing the boats in the water. It appears that the man is perplexed, frightened or anxious while other people remain oblivious to the subject’s emotions. In the succeeding discussion, the elements of the painting, particularly the lines and contour, color palette and scheme, and axis will be explored, including a critical analysis of The Scream in relation to expressionism.
Figure 1. Edvard Munch’s The Scream
Munch’s bold color palette in The Scream is made up of contrasting colors. Prominent hues in the painting include yellow and orange to depict the sky, as well as a combination of blue and yellow hues to show the sun’s reflection on water. Blue hues and dark tones, on the other hand, depict the water in the background. Munch’s color palette in the scenery behind the man contrasts with the hues the artist used in the foreground. Munch used black, brown, grey, and red in the foreground, which contrast with the bold colors in the background. The color palette or scheme primarily depict the contrasting mood or atmosphere in the foreground and the background.
Apart from the contrasting color schemes in the painting, its axis also creates contrast by dividing the foreground and the background. As formerly noted, the man is standing on the bridge with the scenery behind him. The line following the bridge’s guardrail creates a diagonal axis that separates the subject in the painting from the scenery. The line also creates structure in the painting by similarly separating and highlighting the contrast of the atmosphere between the foreground and the background.
Expressionism was the prevalent art movement in 1893. Essentially, expressionism refers to the artist’s interpretation of people, places, events, or things as influenced by emotional views, perspectives, and responses. Furthermore, expressionism depicts both the artist or subject’s innermost feelings, worries or fears. Munch’s The Scream constitutes the main features of expressionism because the painting’s subject shows strong fear and anxiety. Munch’s The Scream adheres to the features of the expressionist movement because its subject not only depicts strong emotion but also depicts pronounced responses from people including despair and anxiety.
The lines in the painting accurately reflect The Scream’s expressionist quality. As formerly noted, expressionism depicts the artist or subject’s strong emotions pertaining to fear, anxiety, and other disturbing feelings. In The Scream, Munch used soft and arched lines to show the subject’s fear and anxiety. The lines showing the subject’s body seems bent. The shape of the subject’s head as well as the lines of the subject’s mouth clearly depict the sense of despair and fear. Munch used curvilinear lines and contours to portray fear in the subject’s face.
In terms of theory, Munch’s The Scream may be viewed within the context of social history. Oftentimes, artists are inspired by their lived experiences. The Scream, for instance, is a reflection of society during that time. A socio-historical analysis of The Scream is broad but to focus on one issue, the painting depicts the sense of dread and fear due to rapid modernization during that time. The Scream not only illustrate Munch’s own feelings and emotions but also the collective fears of people following societal transitions and changes.
“After the Scream: The Late Paintings of Edvard Munch”. The Virginia Quarterly Review 78.4 (2002). 139. ProQuest. Web. 27 Jan. 2015
“Scream, the.” The Bloomsbury Guide to Art. London: Bloomsbury, 1996. Credo Reference. Web. 27 January 2015.
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