Mystery solved: How to preserve ‘The Scream,’ Edvard Munch’s iconic painting, for generations to come

Credit: Irina Crina Anca Sandu/Eva Storevik Tveit/Munch Museum

Over the last few decades, an unseen enemy has been degrading “The Scream.” The famous painting by Edvard Munch represents human anxiety and anguish and feels especially relevant during these uncertain times.Now, thanks to new noninvasive research, the culprit has been discovered: moisture. And the good news is that this is a threat conservationists at the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, can manage.The study published Friday in the journal Science Advances.The cadmium yellow pigments Munch used in the painting have been flaking and growing discolored for years. The yellow in the sunset, sky and the figure’s neck have turned off-white, while thick yellow paint in the adjacent lake is flaking. Damage also occurred when the painting was stolen in 2004. The painting was finally recovered in 2006.

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