30,000 Works of Art by Edvard Munch & Other Artists Put Online by Norway’s National Museum of Art

NOR Skrik, ENG The Scream

Next time I make it to Oslo, the Nation­al Muse­um of Art, Archi­tec­ture and Design ranks high on my to-do list. The next time I make it to Oslo will also count as the first time I make it to Oslo, since the ten­den­cy of the city itself to rank high on the world’s-most-expen­sive places lists (and at the very top of some of those lists) has thus far scared me off of book­ing a flight there. But if you can han­dle Oslo’s for­mi­da­ble cost of liv­ing, the Nation­al Muse­um’s branch­es only charge you the equiv­a­lent of five bucks or so for admis­sion. And now they’ve offered an even cheap­er alter­na­tive: 30,000 works of art from their col­lec­tion, view­able online for free.

NOR Melankoli, ENG Melancholy

If it all seems over­whelm­ing, you can view the Nation­al Muse­um’s dig­i­tal col­lec­tion in sec­tions of high­lights: one of pre-1945 works, one of post-1945 works, and one of Edvard Munch. While few of us could con­fi­dent­ly call our­selves experts in Nor­we­gian art, all of us know the work of Munch — or at least we know a work of Munch, 1893’s The Scream (Skrik), whose black-garbed cen­tral fig­ure, clutch­ing his gaunt fea­tures twist­ed into an expres­sion of pure agony, has gone on to inspire count­less homages, par­o­dies, and iron­ic greet­ing cards. But Munch, whose career last­ed well over half a cen­tu­ry and involved print­mak­ing as well as paint­ing, did­n’t become Nor­way’s best-known artist on the strength of The Scream alone.

NOR Pikene på broen, ENG The Girls on the Bridge

The Nation­al Muse­um’s dig­i­tal col­lec­tion offers per­haps your best oppor­tu­ni­ty to begin to get a sense of the scope of Munch’s art. There you can take an up-close look at (and even down­load) such pieces as the less ago­nized Melan­choly (Melankoli), paint­ed one year before The Scream; 1901’s The Girls on the Bridge, a more placid treat­ment of a sim­i­lar set­ting; and even, so you can get to know the artist bet­ter still, Munch’s 1895 self-por­trait with a cig­a­rette. He may not exact­ly look hap­py in it, but at least he has­n’t become a visu­al short­hand for all-con­sum­ing pain like the poor fel­low he paint­ed on the bridge. (If you want my guess as to what made the sub­ject of The Scream so unhap­py, I’d say he just fin­ished look­ing into aver­age Oslo rents.)

NOR Selvportrett med sigarett, ENG Self-Portrait with Cigarette

A big thanks to Joakim for mak­ing us aware of this col­lec­tion. If any oth­er read­ers know of great resources we can fea­ture on the site, please send us a tip here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Edvard Munch’s Famous Paint­ing The Scream Ani­mat­ed to the Sound of Pink Floyd’s Pri­mal Music

The Guggen­heim Puts Online 1600 Great Works of Mod­ern Art from 575 Artists

Down­load 35,000 Works of Art from the Nation­al Gallery, Includ­ing Mas­ter­pieces by Van Gogh, Gau­guin, Rem­brandt & More

Rijksmu­se­um Dig­i­tizes & Makes Free Online 210,000 Works of Art, Mas­ter­pieces Includ­ed!

Down­load 100,000 Free Art Images in High-Res­o­lu­tion from The Get­ty

Col­in Mar­shall writes else­where on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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  • ramie Streng says:

    Thanks Col­in for the infor­ma­tion about Nor­way’s Muse­um of Art dig­i­tal col­lec­tion. In a very recent trip we were in the Oslo air­port for a lay­over. Unfor­tu­nate­ly ‚we did not have enough time to see the Nation­al Muse­um of Art. As far as Munch’s The Scream I read an inter­est­ing arti­cle awhile back on it actu­al­ly being an anti-war paint­ing.

    Regard­ing the Oslo air­port expe­ri­ence. The prices were so expen­sive ; my hus­band could­n’t get over how we spent the equiv­a­lent of $75 dol­lars for a take­out col­lec­tion of one sim­ple stir­fry, two ham and cheese sand­wich­es , and one choco­late chip cook­ie.

  • George Hesselberg says:

    This is good news, but I am puz­zled why Mr. Mar­shall would include not one but three gra­tu­itous snipes a the costs of Oslo. It is not exact­ly news. I am in Oslo every oth­er year or so. Most recent­ly, last Octo­ber, I paid $460 for a round trip flight from Chica­go. For some­one who has writ­ten so expert­ly about cities — the Guardian pieces were excel­lent — this sort of unin­formed side­swip­ing seems a lit­tle odd. What does the cost of rent have to do with the dig­iltal­iza­tion of a muse­um’s col­lec­tions? Why is that rel­e­vant to a trav­el­er? And if you are going to Olso for Munch, a city or cul­ture expert would be aware that there is a sep­a­rate Munch Muse­um. A few dol­lars more would even get you a bus ride to the vicin­i­ty of the very bridge por­trayed in The Scream. Bet­ter infor­ma­tion would be to sug­gest buy­ing an Oslopass in the city to save mon­ey in trav­el and admis­sions, to trav­el off-sea­son if pos­si­ble (see above).

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