The hidden inscription written in pencil read: “Only a madman could have done it.” A phrase that has historically sowed a sea of doubts about who wrote it, until now.
It was in 1904 when a Danish art critic, eleven years after Edvard Munch painted The Scream , discovered that among the red brush strokes of the sky there was a tiny text that said “Kan kun være malet af en gal Mand”, something like “ “Only a madman could have done it.” And since then, of course, the theories of who had inscribed such a phrase in a masterpiece have not ceased, whether it had been some detractor or Munch himself, who denied being the author of it, clarifying that he had left it as part of the painting. because, quite simply, it was right.
A Norwegian restaurateur, the discoverer of the origin.
But now, a team led by Mai Britt Guleng, a restorer at the National Museum of Norway , has revealed the mystery: the hidden inscription, which was made in pencil, was written by the author himself. And they have done so by comparing the handwriting of the aforementioned sentence, obtained through infrared radiation, with other notes in the hand of Munch himself, who continues to be studied if he suffered from some type of mental illness, possibly schizophrenia, as well as certain traumas that They started drinking alcohol, a habit that caused him hallucinations, as he himself admitted. “Illness, madness and death were the three angels who watched over my crib and who accompanied me all my life,” he once said.
The famous phrase… a complaint by the artist against harsh criticism?
Another of the findings explained in the statement made by the art gallery is that the painting was not done the same year that the painting was made , but later, possibly after the poor critical reception that El Grito received in 1895, during an exhibition in Kristiania (present-day Oslo). After her, a multitude of those present discussed the mental health of the artist, who would write in his own work one of the phrases that was said about his work.