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    The sky in Edvard Munch's "The Scream"

    Prata, F. and Robok, A. and Hamblyn, Richard (2018) The sky in Edvard Munch's "The Scream". Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 99 , pp. 1378-1390. ISSN 0003-0007.

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    “The Scream” is a well-known painting by Edvard Munch (1863–1944). The Norwegian word used by Munch was “Skrik,” which can be translated as “shriek” or “scream”. “The Scream” may be of interest to meteorologists because of the quite striking representation of the sky. It has been suggested that the dramatic red-colored sky was inspired by a volcanic sunset seen by Munch, after the Krakatau eruption in 1883, that it was inspired by a sighting of stratospheric nacreous clouds and also that it is part of the artist’s expression of a scream from nature. The evidence for the volcanic sunset theory and Munch’s psyche are briefly reviewed. We provide support that Munch’s inspiration may have been from a sighting of nacreous clouds, observable from southern Norway during the winter months. We show that the colors and patterns of the sky in Munch’s painting match the sunset colors better if nacreous clouds are present. Their sudden appearance around and after sunset creates an impressive and dramatic effect. By comparing the color content of photographs and paintings of regular sunsets, volcanic sunsets, and nacreous clouds after sunset, with the color content of the sky in “The Scream”, the match is better with nacreous clouds present. If this conjecture is correct then Munch’s sky in “The Scream” represents one of the earliest visual documentations of a nacreous cloud display.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Permission to place a copy of this work on this server has been provided by the AMS. The AMS does not guarantee that the copy provided here is an accurate copy of the published work.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Munch, The Scream, meteorology, nacreous clouds, volcanic sunsets, color analysis, pattern analysis, art and science
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Richard Hamblyn
    Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2018 15:43
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:43


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