Three young women from Finland, Denmark and Germany were arrested in Oslo Friday after they tried to glue their hands to the frame of the National Museum’s version of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch’s famous painting Skriket (The Scream). They claimed they were protesting the Norwegian government’s oil policy.
The women from an organization that seeks to halt oil exploration have been charged with attempted exaggerated vandalism. They were quickly stopped and apprehended by museum security guards.
It’s the latest example of classic artworks being targeted by environmental and climate activists, who often instead stir up anger instead of support for their cause. Munch himself has written that he was inspired by the thought of nature screaming against industry even back in the late 1800s when he painted his first Scream. Four versions remain in the public domain, including the National Museum’s version and those at Oslo’s MUNCH museum.
The painting has also been stolen twice. Friday’s assault failed to damage the painting, which is secured with glass and sensors that set off alarms when someone approaches it too closely. Security guards are also constantly on duty in the National Museum’s popular area devoted to Munch’s art.
“Any damage to the painting was fortunately averted,” museum director Karin Hindsbo told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), “thanks to competent people who work here at the museum. The painting is fine.”