If you haven’t yet learned from my other posts, or worse yet if you haven’t read my other post (which you probably should), Oslo is weird. Nothing quite makes sense, and the Munch Museum is no exception.
I mean, where else in the world could a museums most famous painting be stolen… twice?! To be fair the first theft was from the National Museum in Oslo and the second one was from the Munch Museum, but it doesn’t say a ton about Norwegian security. The Munch Museum theft was clearly the best because it happened in broad daylight and a bystander took photos, which seem to depict someone casually walking into a museum and taking the most famous painting in the country before strolling out to his car.
It should also be noted that, although there are photos of the criminals and getaway car, the Scream was stolen on August 22, 2004 and it wasn’t until April of the next year that the first arrest was made. It was a full 2 years before the painting was recovered. So, that’s Norway.
They have taken some precautions to avoid a repeat performance. Now there is a security guard texting the corner and looking up every now and then to make sure no one takes pictures of The Scream. It’s an odd policy considering it’s totally acceptable to take pictures of all the other art work in the museum.
I’ll admit, I didn’t know much about Munch (which would be a great title for a biography and/or Norwegian rock band) other than The Scream, but I really loved a lot of the art.
(especially this guy)
Where the museum got weird was that the odd and very forced tie in to the Natural History Museum near by, including a wall of butterflies which were different colors, much like the different colors Munch used in his painting. (See what they did there?) The oddest though was this room full of taxidermy animals,
which was explained like this.
Its a good read but if you’re not feeling up to it, most of the animals are from 2012, but the wild boar is from the 1880s, which was when Munch was popular so it absolutely makes sense to put them in a museum dedicated to him. It should also be noted here that there is no boar.
The Scream itself had an interesting natural history tie it, unfortunately I didn’t get a photo on the off chance that that would be the moment the security looked up from his game of Words with Friends. This is the closest I got.
That’s exactly how The Scream was displayed, next to Ida, a fossilized primate and probable pre-human, because Norway is one of the countries that doesn’t have to deny evolution to appease a loud minority, but that’s a rant for another day. Now this was something about The Scream representing the angst of modern man and Ida representing the start of man. A loose connection at best. Though The Munch Museum website claims of it’s exhibit,
- “What kind of connection could appear between Edvard Munch’s The Scream and the fossil Ida? Or between his lithographic series Alpha and Omega and a tableau of stuffed animals? Such more or less probable links between Munch’s art and nature are the starting point for this exhibition.”
They do say “more or less probable”, of course that’s the English version of the website. It’s like they knew we’d think it was insane.
The set up of the museum was weird in itself. You enter the middle of the museum and must choose left or right and one path never connects to the other. I chose right, and I’m lucky I did. If I chose left I would have missed half the museum. The only reason I turned around and retraced my steps was that I reached the end of the museum without seeing The Scream, which I knew was there. Very odd set up.
After looking around the museum you can head to the attached cafe for some themed desserts.
We opted for a slice of apple cake and two coffees that set us back about $31 usd.
I may never be done paying off my two days in Oslo. I guess I’ll just have to focus on the airline miles I earned on my travel cards.