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Screaming for Munch

Some artists painted visions of loveliness that could make anyone smile. Others, like Edvard Munch, created nightmares that could make you scream.

Influential Norwegian painter Edvard Munch is best known for his dark, emotional images. Born in 1863, Munch was raised by his father as his mother died when she was relatively young. A severe man, Munch's father instilled in his son a strong fear of going to hell. This fear stayed with the artist his entire life. However, illness spread throughout Munch's family, and his father as well as three other siblings passed away within a short period of time.

Munch used thick brushstrokes and deep colors to depict his state of mind. His work was so dark that some even question whether Munch himself suffered from serious mental illness. His most famous painting, The Scream (1893), portrays a lone figure on a bridge, crying out in anguish. Much of Munch's life was covered by a gloomy shadow of sickness and misery due to his parents'' and siblings'' deaths. It was in this state of loneliness and anxiety that he was inspired to paint The Scream. In his discussion of this image, he recalled the "blood-red" sunset he saw as he was out walking and the fear he felt running through his body. These strong emotions certainly come through and impose a similar feeling on any viewer.

This painting has become a cultural icon that many non-experts are familiar with. It has been stolen twice. Most recently, in August 2004, robbers held guards at a Norwegian museum at gunpoint, making away with The Scream and another Munch painting. Combined, the two paintings are worth an estimated $100 million. A little over two years to the date of their theft, police recovered both pieces. The paintings only had minor damage. In comparison, the thieves responsible received four- and eight-year sentences behind bars.

     
  1.

Edvard Munch's early life was filled with _____.

       
    (A) triumphant learning experiences about art
    (B)

fear, sadness, and the horror of losing members of his family

    (C) an appreciation for the art his father created
    (D) many opportunities because of his belief in God
       
  2. According to the article, what was a major influence in Munch's work?
       
    (A) The treatment he received for his mental illness.
    (B) His earlier failure in the art world.
    (C)

The tragedies he endured early in life.

    (D) His fear of going to hell with his father.
       
  3. Which of the following is a false statement about The Scream?
       
    (A) It is a valuable painting.
    (B)

The criminals that stole it are still at large.

    (C) It is known around the world by practically everyone.
    (D) It was influenced by the artist's inner fear.
       
      instill in   to put a feeling into someone's mind
           
      anguish   extreme unhappiness caused by physical or mental suffering
           
      make away with   steal
           
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  Answers : 1) B    2) C    3) B
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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