Friday, May 23, 2008

Stolen 'Scream' returns to Oslo museum

Art lovers converged on the Munch Museum in Oslo overnight as Edvard Munch's Expressionist masterpiece The Scream went back on display nearly four years after it was stolen and damaged in a daring heist.

Some 440 people, more than double the average number of visitors this time of year, came to see the unveiling of The Scream and Madonna, another Munch masterpiece stolen in the 2004 robbery, a museum official said.

The Scream, which is perhaps the most famous depiction of existential angst, depicts an individual on a bridge, hands clasped around the head and mouth wide open in an apparent yell of despair, against a backdrop of waves of red, yellow, blue and black.

The painting still showed signs of the damage it suffered after two armed, masked robbers burst into the Oslo museum in on August 22, 2004, snatching the artworks from the walls as horrified tourists looked on.

Police recovered the works in August 2006 under mysterious circumstances. They were scratched and torn and showed signs of humidity damage.

Most visible is a remaining large damp spot in the lower left corner of The Scream that conservationists decided not to repair for fear of damaging the painting further.

Madonna, which depicts a woman's face and bust framed in a mesh of long, black hair, is set to be restored further once the exhibit 'Scream and Madonna - Revisited' ends on September 26.


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