We do not want pretty pictures to be hung on drawing-room walls. We want... an art that arrests and engages. An art of one’s innermost heart.
The creator of art's most haunting and iconic face. A radical father of Expressionism. Norway’s answer to Vincent van Gogh. But who was Edvard Munch? Discover this pioneering, subversive artist as the British Museum lifts the veil on his life and works in the largest show of his prints in the UK for 45 years.
The emotional intensity of The Scream has reverberated through history, speaking to generations. The fact that it needs no explanation is arguably one of its strengths. Yet perhaps it is also the reason that, beyond his name, so little is known about its creator – The Scream speaks for itself. Although it has become a universal symbol of human anxiety, it is a deeply personal response to Munch’s upbringing and experiences as a young artist.
Looking at the cities of pre-war Oslo, Berlin and Paris, the exhibition shows how new ideas about personal and political independence gave rise to an important voice. Visceral, rebellious and hungry for new experiences, Munch rejected his strict Lutheran upbringing to pursue an unconventional lifestyle. He travelled across Europe, drawing artistic inspiration from the bohemian circles he encountered and his passionate love affairs. Munch’s work articulated his experiences of life in a rapidly changing Europe, that was to be shattered by the first global industrialised conflict.
In this collaborative exhibition with the Munch Museum in Oslo, discover how he mastered the art of printmaking and explore his remarkable body of work. Munch’s innovative techniques, bold use of colour and dark subject matter resonated with shifting attitudes – and mark him out as one of the first truly ‘modern’ artists.