Norway doesn’t often make international headlines. There’s the Nobel Peace Prize of course. And surveys that pop up every now and again comparing quality of life, the cost of living, gender equality in various parts of the world. Norway always gets a mention in those. And then there’s Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’.
The painting has been stolen and retrieved twice - or at least two different versions of it have been stolen and eventually recovered. The last time, in August 2004, it took two years to find it, by which time it had taken a bit of a knocking and had suffered some water damage.
Yesterday, we braved the wind, cold and rain (yes Spring has done a runner yet again) to visit the Munch Museum. Unfortunately ‘The Scream’, worth around £50 million, is still in the final stages of restoration after its mishap so was not to be seen. It will be re-exhibited from the end of May, together with the relatively cheap by comparison (only £5 million) ‘Madonna', which was also stolen in the 2004 heist.
Getting into the museum was akin to going through to departures in an airport: no fluids, no large bags, an x-ray conveyer belt, metal detectors and stern-faced staff in uniform. It sort of made me nervous taking somewhat from the artistic experience but I guess the museum isn’t taking any chances: there are some international headlines the Norwegians must be anxious to avoid and I bet ‘‘The Scream’ Stolen – Again!’ is one of them.