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Visual Arts: The Private Life of a Masterpiece

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The Private Life of a Masterpiece

This award-winning series, The Private Life of a Masterpiece, reveals the full and fascinating stories behind famous works of art, not just how they came to be created, but also how they influenced others and came to have a life of their own in the modern world. The works of art featured here are both instantly familiar and profoundly mysterious. Revolutionary in their conception, and iconic years after their execution, they each have their own compelling stories. For behind the beautiful canvases and sculptures are tales of political revolution, wartime escapes, massive ego clashes, social scandal, financial wrangling and shocking violence. In this fascinating series key works of art are investigated and the intricate details of their lives revealed - the history, contemporary reactions, and legacies of each are illustrated.

Video: The Private Life of a Masterpiece: Edvard Munch: The Scream

Traces the private life of one of the great iconic figures. The Scream exists in four versions: two pastels (1893 and 1895) and two paintings (1893 and 1910). There are also several lithographs of The Scream (1895 and later).

The 1895 pastel sold at auction on 2 May 2012 for US$119,922,500, including commission. It is the most colorful of the versions and is distinctive for the downward-looking stance of one of its background figures. It is also the only version not part of the collection of a Norwegian museum. The 1893 version was stolen and recovered from the National Gallery in Oslo in 1994. The 1910 painting was stolen in 2004 from The Munch Museum in Oslo, but recovered in 2006 with limited damage.

The Scream is Munch's most famous work and one of the most recognizable paintings in all art. It has been widely interpreted as representing the universal anxiety of modern man. Painted with broad bands of garish color and highly simplified forms, and employing a high viewpoint, the agonized figure is reduced to a garbed skull in the throes of an emotional crisis.

Duration: 48:35

Rating: M

Publication Year: 2001

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Series: Private Life of a Masterpiece