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Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is deteriorating

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Art
22 May 20

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is deteriorating

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Scientists found that the Norwegian artist’s The Scream could be at risk of rapid deterioration

The Scream by artist Edvard Munch is perhaps one of the most iconic and valuable paintings of the twentieth century. However, a group of researchers revealed that its original quality is at risk due to multiple factors we’ll tell you about.

1910 painting deteriorates due to light and humidity
Courtesy: Sidsel de Jong/Associated Press

Thus, according to the Guardian, a recent investigation by Letizia Monico, a chemist of the Italian National Research Council in Perugia and his colleagues, the current state of the painting is in a process of deterioration. The study was published last Friday in Science Advances.

Moreover, the test was performed with x-ray probes duplicated to small paint scales from the 1910 piece and other paint samples with a similar composition. In addition, the team of specialists determined that cadmium sulfate, a cadmium sulfide decomposition product, was present in The Scream paint stains.

1910 painting deteriorates due to light and humidity
Courtesy: Chesnot/Corbis via Getty Images

Furthermore, this cadmium sulfate also appeared in artificially aged paints that were exposed to 95 percent moisture in light and darkness. In contrast, light-exposed samples in 45 percent moisture showed no signs of deterioration. Hence, displaying it is the key factor of its mishandling.

Edvard Munch's The Scream deteriorates
Courtesy: Oli Scarff/Getty

In addition, the study proposes that Munch accidentally used a tube of cadmium yellow that can fade and peel off in relatively low humidity. Hence, it could affect it even with the breath of visitors contemplating the work.

1910 painting deteriorates due to light and humidity
Courtesy: BBC

Finally, after the Munch Museum moves to its new location, it will have to calibrate carefully the environment where the painting will be displayed to avoid further damage.

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

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escrito por Fernando Huacuz
Ciudad de México, 1988- En búsqueda constante de urdimbres visuales y narrativas en espacios públicos y privados. Arte, cultura y rocksteady un must.
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