‘Painted by a madman’: The Scream graffiti reveals Munch’s state of mind

Inscription on painting that has been subject of debate has been reattributed to the artist himself

It is an image that has intrigued the art world for more than a century and become synonymous with existential angst, and recently inspired its own emoji, but now some graffiti has added a new layer to the story of Edvard Munch’s most iconic painting, The Scream.

A tiny pencil inscription in the top left corner of one of the four versions of the painting, which reads, “Can only have been painted by a madman”, has been the subject of debate over who wrote it – it was originally thought to be by Munch, but was later attributed to a vandal – but new analysis by experts at the National Museum of Norway suggests it is indeed in the hand of the artist.

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