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Madonna, Scream & Munch 2006-09-26

Posted by clype in Europe, Humanities.

Norwegian painter Mr.Edvard Munch’s masterpieces ‘The Scream’ and ‘Madonna’ were put on show on Tuesday 2006-09-26 for the first time since police recovered them in 2006-08 — and two years after they were stolen from an Oslo museum.

[Picture of The Munch Museum]

The paintings — dating from 1893 — suffered minor damage at the hands of thieves who had stolen them from ‘The Munch Museum’ “in broad daylight” in front of stunned tourists on 2004-08-22.

‘The paintings are not so damaged so that it would be impossible to have a complete aesthetic experience of them,’ said Ms.Ingebjoerg Ydstie (Ingebjorg Ydstie), acting chief curator and director of ‘The Munch Museum’.

The pictures, shown to the media on Tuesday, will be on public display from Wednesday to Sunday before restoration work begins.

‘We want to share the homecoming of the paintings with visitors,’ Ms.Ydstie said. Restoration could take about a year.

The paintings were displayed lying flat in specially made, climate-controlled glass showcases.

‘Madonna’ had a hole about the size of a coin and a smaller tear in the canvas. The damage to ‘The Scream’ was harder to discern, but it suffered dampness in the left lower corner.

‘The Scream’, Munch’s most famous work, is an icon of existential angst, showing a terrified figure against a blood-red sky. Madonna shows a bare-breasted woman with long black hair.

[Picture of The Scream by Munch] [Picture of Munch's The Madonna]

Munch Museum restorer Gry Landro said that it could be hard to repair ‘The Scream’ since it was painted on cardboard attached on a wooden base:

‘One cannot go in and fix it from the back.’

[Picture of the damage to The Scream by Munch]
Ms.Ydstie said she thought it would be possible to repair the rips to ‘Madonna’.

The paintings were recovered two years and nine days after they were stolen by two masked gunmen. The Norwegian police have not said how they recovered them.

Three men were convicted in 2006-05 of taking part in the theft and were sentenced to up to eight years in jail. Three other men were acquitted. Police did not made any new arrests or charges in connection with the recovery.

Museum officials said on Tuesday 2006-09-26 that they did not know any more about where the paintings had been for over two years nor how they had been damaged.

  • Another version of ‘The Scream’ was stolen in 1994 from ‘The National Gallery of Oslo‘ by thieves who broke a window and climbed in with a ladder. It was recovered after several months by police posing as buyers.


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