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A new building has transformed Oslo's skyline, nodding respectfully towards Norway's bustling capital.
At the time of his death in 1944, Edvard Munch had no descendants to oversee his estate …
… he had therefore chosen to bequeath all of the artworks still in his possession to the City of Oslo.
Including Self-Portrait with Cigarette (pictured) and one of the world's most iconic paintings …
... The Scream!
In one of the versions, you may be able to make out a tiny text that reads "Painted by a madman", which some believe was painted by Edvard Munch himself.
The three versions of The Scream are displayed in a rotunda, each for one hour at a time as part of the permanent exhibition, Edvard Munch Infinite. This is done in order to best protect the fragile paintings. It's clear that one of the world's most famous artworks has gained renewed attention in recent years.
"The Scream is more relevant now than ever. In connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, The Scream has come to reflect our collective anxiety and fear of the global virus. Sometimes the effect is humorous, like when the Scream-figure is depicted wearing a face mask and carrying hand sanitizer," says Maren Lindeberg, head of press at MUNCH, the new museum.
Munch’s figure is also often featured on protest signs, particularly at climate change protests.
"Contrary to popular belief it’s nature and not the figure in the painting that is screaming, according to Munch himself who wrote "… a great and infinite scream through nature", says Lindeberg.
The Norwegian painter and printmaker Edvard Munch (1863–1944) was one of Modernism’s most significant artists.
His intensely evocative treatment of psychological themes built upon some of the main principles of late 19th-century Symbolism and greatly influenced German Expressionism in the early 20th century.
His best-known work The Scream, painted in 1893, is one of the world’s most iconic paintings.
Edvard Munch was a world-famous painter and printmaker from Norway. Born in Løten in 1863, Munch was active for more than 60 years and was one of Modernism’s most important artists.
His best-known work is The Scream, painted in 1893, which is one of the most iconic paintings in modern art. Other famous pieces include The Girls on the Bridge and Madonna.
Munch died at his home in Oslo in 1944, shortly after his 80th birthday.
In order to honour Munch's legacy, Oslo has built the new MUNCH museum, one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to a single artist.
Estudio Herreros designed the sixty-metre tall building, which has less than half the emissions of corresponding buildings.
Many of the architectural decisions were climate driven.
The building is clad in wavy recycled aluminium panels that have varying degrees of transparency. The exterior is designed to screen and reflect sunlight to maintain a stable temperature inside.
In the middle of Oslo, a new building right next to the fjord is shaping the city's skyline.
"The museum is filled with Edvard Munch’s art as well as exhibitions featuring other renowned contemporary artists. The museum is five times as large as the former Munch museum, so you can now explore more Munch than ever," says MUNCH's press officer Maren Lindeberg.
In addition to exhibitions, the museum hosts a varied programme of performance, literature, music, film, and dance events.
"MUNCH is a venue that presents cultural events for everyone, regardless of age, or background. The building is filled with culture, topped with the best views of Oslo and the Oslofjord. You can visit the café, or enjoy a drink at the rooftop bar on the picturesque 13th floor," says Lindeberg.
MUNCH aims to make Oslo more attractive to its inhabitants, and create another excellent reason to visit Oslo.
"The MUNCH is a great venue in Oslo. Architecture, a central location, and a calendar full of varied events will truly put art at the heart of Oslo, and give the museum a key role in developing the community. Bjørvika, the area where MUNCH is built, adds a new dimension to Oslo, which makes the city an international metropolis and an exciting destination offering a wide variety of things to do. Oslo is about to be reborn," enthuses Lindeberg.
Moving the fragile paintings into the museum was no easy job.
The largest paintings, which are up to 50 square metres in size, had to be transported by water to the new museum. They were then lifted 21 metres by crane and maneuvered through a large opening in the side of the building's sixth floor.
Afterwards, the seven-metre high opening was sealed shut – for good.
The two enormous paintings that were moved in this way – The Sun (pictured) and The Researchers – were painted to inspire the students at The University of Oslo.
The paintings are displayed in a grand hall that stretches over two floors, and can be seen in the Edvard Munch Monumental exhibition.
But Edvard Munch was not only a painter. He loved to experiment with photography and didn't hesitate to use himself as a model. In other words …
… Munch took a lot of selfies!
His photographs can be seen in the digital exhibition, The Experimental Self.
If you find that your head is full of aesthetic experiences but your belly is empty, head to one of the three places to eat and drink. You don't need a ticket to the museum to visit them.
Order oysters or a Munch burger at the delicious Tolvte bistro on the 12th floor, or head up to the rooftop cocktail bar Kranen for drinks and an extraordinary view of Oslo.
What a place for a date night!
Buy a picnic basket downstairs at the MUNCH Deli & Kafé to take along to the idyllic Opera beach right outside the museum and the National Opera. Go for a swim (yes, we swim outside year round!) and warm up in one of the many hot saunas nearby.
Don't forget to set aside some time to stroll around and explore this new and super trendy neighbourhood, including Munch Brygge and Oslobukta.
Discover how the famous photographer Morten Krogvold was amazed by the new MUNCH museum. Check out his top cultural tips for things to do and places to see in Oslo.
The fascinating story behind Edvard Munch's generous gift to the people of Oslo.
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