The Edvard Munch Museum; Tricked but not Disappointed

27 February 2013

Oslo, Norway. I'm on my RyanAir  flight to this lovely Scandinavian city and decide to start flipping through one of their RyanAir magazines (which are actually really great, give them a read!) and, lo and behold, an ad for an art museum in Oslo with a big picture of The Scream next to it.

'The Scream??' I think to myself? 'One of the most famous paintings in the world isn't in the Louvre or MoMA but in Oslo? I've got to go!'

My little art history nerd heart was all a flutter when I realized I was going to see one of the most iconic images in human history. So, imagine my frustration when I found I had been lied to!

Well, not entirely. But mostly.

Entrance to the museum

The Munch Museum itself is a little out of the way; it's not in the city center but, with Oslo being so small, it is still reachable by walking. The cost to enter isn't so bad if you're a student (about $9) but then again everything is expensive in Norway.

A sketch and the final painting of The Madonna
One of my favorite things about this museum was how thoroughly it covered the works since it was dedicated to only one artist. Many different versions of paintings were shown and you really got to see the artistic process. In addition, I learned that Edvard Munch was also a poet and he would often write poems and then do a painting based on his writings. In this case, the poems and paintings were placed next to each other and you could compare words to the image.

After enjoying comparing sketches and paintings I turned a corner only to see this:

'Well that's not quite right.' I thought to myself, 'It's supposed to be brighter. This is pastel. Where's the painting?' I looked around. There were several more pastel sketches of The Scream, but not the iconic painting that I knew.

Turns out, the painting that is most recognizable is at the center of Oslo in the National Museum. To my disappointment, it was closed when I ventured over there to see the painting.

Self-portrait in Hell, detail
But, even though I didn't see The Scream, I got a great grasp of this artist's works and a first hand account of many of his other paintings so my art history nerd heart could rest easy that night. Besides, this just gives me an excuse to one day go back to Oslo!

Have you ever been disappointed by a tourist attraction?

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