Art Behind The Scream

Edvard Munch's painting The Scream has become a powerful metaphor for the dark agony of the 20th century. Yet outside his native Norway, little is known about the rest of his work or his life. Anyone wanting to correct this omission would be well advised to read this outstanding biography Behind The Scream which is full of insights into Munch's tortured family life (full of icy Protestant asceticism), fascinating asides (did you know that Munch's uncle is known as "the father of Norwegian history"?) and genuinely informative observations about the nature of Munch's art. This is one of those old-fashioned, admirable biographies where the author carefully dissects the psychology of both the family and the individual and builds up an image which is so dense and intensely created that it feels more like a novel. The result is an image of a painter that seems to be a Scandinavian echo of the torment and emotional intensity of Van Gogh.