Back on the wall

The famous paintings by Edvard Munch (1863-1944); Skrik (The Scream) and Madonna are finally back on the walls in the Munch museum in Oslo. After they were stolen and missing for over 2 years, conservation specialists have worked at restoring the paintings since August 2006. The paintings are now in an exhibition at the Munch Museum, lasting until September 26th.

Together with Mark Wilkinson, I went to the Munch Museum a few days ago to see the exhibition of Scream/Madonna and other paintings by Norway's most famous painter.

Some of you commented on the background for Munch painting The Scream. First of all, Munch's life and art were greatly influenced by the suffering and death he experienced in near family when he was a child; both his mother and one sister died of tuberculosis and Edvard Munch was himself often sick in his childhood. This quote explains in Munch's own words what inspired him to paint The Scream:

I was walking along the road with two friends.
The sun was setting,
and I began to be afflicted with a sense of melancholy.
Suddenly the sky became blood-red.
I stopped and leaned against a fence, feeling dead-tired,
and stared at the flaming clouds that hung, like blood and a sword,
over the blue-black fjord and the city.
My friends walked on.
I stood riveted, trembling with fright.
And I felt a loud, unending scream piercing nature.
(Edvard Munch 1892)

Below Ekebergåsen, where he was walking, there was (and still is) a mental asylum. He might have heard one of the patients scream, but that is just a guess.

The version of the Madonna in the Munch Museum is painted on canvas and is dated 1893-94. There are four additional painted versions of the image. The National Gallery Oslo and the Hamburger Kunsthalle each have one, while two are in private collections. In 1895 Munch made a lithographic version of Madonna, with a decorative frame depicting spermatozoa and an embryo. Several poetic texts related to Madonna underscore the intimate relationship between love and death:

...Now life is shaking hands with death
The chain that binds together the thousand generations
of dead with the thousand generations yet to be born
has been tied...

When the paintings were found after being missing for 2 years, the concerns were whether the two paintings were severely damaged. Luckily they were in "better shape" than feared. Mark and I discussed what Munch would have thought of the theft of his paintings and the damages done to them. It's of course impossible to know, but Mark sent me these quotes and thoughts in an email:

No more interiors should be painted, no people reading and women knitting. They should be living people who breathe, feel, suffer and love. (From Munch's diary 1889)

Munch's paintings were also to have life, to feel and to suffer. He would paint outdoors at all times of the year at his home in Ekely, in an outdoor studio. Finished paintings were hung on the walls there and left out unprotected. He said his paintings could only improve by that sort of treatment.

Oh well, that will be all right when it has stood there for a while and has had time to mature. The colours live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas. Some reconcile themselves to one another, others just clash, and then they go together either to per­dition or to eternal life. Just wait until they have weathered a few showers of rain, a few scratches with nails, or something of the sort, and have knocked about all over the world in every kind of miserable, battered, and far from air- or water-tight packing case. Oh yes, that will turn out all right ... when it has developed a few slight flaws it will be quite presentable.

I think, therefore, that any sentiment regarding the damage done to the stolen paintings is quite unfounded. In some ways I think Munch would have been happy that the paintings have now had an added injection of life.

The Munch Museum
Munch biography
Munch quotes
The recovery of the Munch paintings


Do you want some cake?

Seen at the café at the Munch museum: "Scream and Madonna are back on the wall." To celebrate this you can now buy a chocolate cake with Scream decoration. Looks yummy, doesn't it?!

Photos: Mark Wilkinson


Ferry trip

This weekend I went on a ferry trip to Denmark. This is a photo from returning to Oslo. We had some really nice weather, as you can see. You can see Akershus festning (Akershus Fortress) and parts of Oslo in the background.


Here was a Scream!

This is the location at Ekebergåsen where Edvard Munch was inspired to paint The Scream.

Photos by Mark Wilkinson


View of Oslo

This is a view over parts of Oslo center. The picture was taken from east; at Ekebergåsen.

The large white building by the fjord is the new opera house. You can also see the Oslo Central Station to the right, and the water in the foreground is the Oslo Medieval Park.


Sculptures at Bærums verk

I really love these sculptures, but unfortunately I don't know the name of the artist. Still, I hope you'll enjoy this photo from Bærums verk.



A while back I went to Bærums verk with my family. It used to be an iron work, but now it's a place for arts and crafts, restaurants and exhibitions.

While there, we saw some glassblowers in action and I took these photos of one of them. It must be really hard and warm work!

In the shop next door you can buy some of the glass art they're making, but unfortunately it was closed the day we were there.


Late night arrival

From Oslo airport, Gardermoen around midsummer 2006.

Thanks to Mark Wilkinson for letting us use his photo!



I stayed home yesterday, but still I really didn't miss anything of the celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day :o)

It was a cold and snowy morning (actually the coldest May 17th we had for 50 years!), and the local children's parade hurried through their route. I have never seen a children's parade moving so fast before! ;o) I felt sorry for them in the snow!

Later the sun showed up, and then we got very nice visitors...H.M. King Harald and H.M. Queen Sonja! Every May 17th they visit one of the boroughs of Oslo, and this year they came to Vestre Aker borough, where I live. :o)

Photos: by Stormel


Happy Birthday, Norway!

Happy birthday, Norway!

Today is May 17th, the Norwegian Constitution Day which you can read about here.

The photo is of a Norwegian brooch used on National costumes; "bunad". You can even see the reflection from the celebration going on nearby.


Where doves cry

Next to the metro station at Majorstua in Oslo, you can find this dovecote. Usually there are lots of pigeons nearby, but when I took this photo none could be seen. I guess they've all gone to Deli de Luca to buy coffee. (They shouldn't, though, the coffee there is dreadful.)


Happy Birthday, Stormel!

Today is Stormel's birthday. Happy birthday, dear friend and neighbour! Thank you for all your wonderful contributions to this blog, it certainly wouldn't be the same without you.

Here are some flowers for you. It's a photo of a hanging plant I've just bought. I took a photo of it last night and then played around with it a little in Photoshop. :-)



Maridalsvannet is Oslo's largest lake with an area of 3,83 km². It is Oslo's main source of drinking water. 80 % of the city's inhabitants get their drinking water from here.

Near Maridalsvannet is the old church ruin I've showed you on the blog earlier.



The 18-19 year olds who graduate upper secondary school, have their own special celebration that goes on for a few weeks in May. They dress in overalls, mostly red or blue (depending on what school they go to) and do strange or funny things. (They also party outside during the night, playing very loud music.) You can read more about this Norwegian tradition in English at Wikipedia.

My sister "Imzadi" took these photos of some red "russ" who were pretending to be traffic police. They'd brought hair dryers to make it look like they had radar speed checks, and whistles that they were blowing while stopping the traffic to let pedestrians cross the road.

Photos: Imzadi



I love this time of year! We have lovely weather, it's as warm as it usually is in the summer and in just a few days, nature has become green. I love these trees that are blooming now. I think they're called "Hegg" (Hagberry?).


School bands

May is the month when all the school bands come out to practice marching and playing. They want to be all ready for May 17th. As yesterday is the date when WWII ended in Norway, it was marked by a couple of bands playing for a nursing home near where I live. This band actually played quite well.

But I'm wondering about that person in the fourth row. Why on earth is he only wearing underwear and sneakers? Strange. :)



A big favourite dessert in Norway is "vafler" (waffles). In the month of May we have many bank holidays and we will soon be celebrating our national day on May 17th. What a perfect time to make "vafler"!

I've made vafler since I was a kid, so I don't really use a recipe. I just take whatever I've got (well, nearly...) and when we decided to have vafler the other day, this is what I had: Eggs, sugar, flours, oil, milk and some spices. I also add baking powder and some vanilla sugar. After another search I found some sour cream and cream as well. Good!

I start off by stirring eggs and sugar. Then I just add the different ingredients and stir until the batter is a bit thicker than pancake batter.

The batter is left to "rest" for about half an hour, then I heat up the waffle iron, grease it and add some batter. After a few minutes the waffle is ready:

You can eat it with different kinds of jam, sour cream and jam, sweet brown cheese or just butter. I'm sure, if you ask Norwegians how they make vafler, you'll get very different opinions about it. The more "good stuff" you add to it (like cream, sour cream, curdled milk), the better they get.

Velbekomme! (Enjoy!)


Bottle deposits

When you buy bottled water, soda pops, lemonades or other beverages, you can bring the empty bottles/cans back to the shop to deposit them and get money. Each shop, kiosk, petrol station (usually) have a machine where you put your bottles, one by one, and when you're done you push a button to get the receipt for how much the shop have to pay you. You then bring the receipt to the cash register and they'll withdraw the amount on what you're buying. If you don't buy anything, you'll just get paid the amount for the bottles.

Metal cans are melted and recycled. The plastic and glass bottles are sanitized and then recycled.

From Norsk Resirk:

Since 1999, Norsk Resirk has made Norway a global leader when it comes to depositing and recycling non-refillable plastic bottles and beverage cans. 82 per cent of plastic bottles are returned, while the figure for cans is 92 per cent. All deposited containers are recycled. The 265 million cans deposited in 2007 provided 4400 metric tonnes of aluminum for new cans, while 77 million bottles provided 3200 metric tonnes of plastic for new plastic products.



In my building there is a secondhand/antique-store. On sunny days, like yesterday, they bring a lot of their stuff outside.

Photo: by Stormel


Margaretakirken in Maridalen

The Margareta Church in Maridalen, a farmland and forest area north of the city. This old church was built in approximately year 1250. It's named after Saint Margaret of Scotland.


May 2008 Theme Day: Numbers

Photo: by Stormel

Those are all participants in May 2008 Theme Day:
Albuquerque (NM), USA by Helen, American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Arradon, France by Alice, Aspen (CO), USA by IamMBB, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Avignon, France by Nathalie, Barrow-in-Furness, UK by Enitharmon, Barton (VT), USA by Andree, Belgrade, Serbia by Bibi, Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA, Bicheno, Australia by Greg, Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah, Boston (MA), USA by Sarah, Whit, & Leyre, Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Bucharest, Romania by Malpraxis, Budapest, Hungary by agrajag, Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karine, Busan, Korea South by iamnbinb, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Chateaubriant, France by Bergson, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chesapeake Daily Photo (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Chicago (IL), USA by Focused Light, Christchurch, New Zealand by Michelle, Clearwater (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Clearwater Beach (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish, Cologne, Germany by April11, Concordia Sagittaria, Italy by Patrizia, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Corsicana (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Dallas (TX), USA by turtle, Darmstadt, Germany by Elsch, Dunedin (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow, East Gwillimbury, Canada by Your EG Tour Guide, Evry, France by Olivier, Forks (WA), USA by Mary, Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly, Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie, Greenville (SC), USA by Denton, Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Hamilton, New Zealand by Sakiwi, Hampton (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hong Kong, Hong Kong by Rachel A., Hyde, UK by Gerald, Inverness (IL), USA by Neva, Ioannina, Greece by Christos-Ioanna, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Jogjakarta, Indonesia by Jogja Portrait, Joplin (MO), USA by Victoria, Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin, Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo, Le Guilvinec, France by ds2944, Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, Lodz, Poland by ritalounge, London, UK by Ham, London, UK by Mo, Mainz, Germany by JB, Malaga, Spain by Paula, Manila, Philippines by Heyokity, Maple Ridge, Canada by Susan, Marseille, France by Alex, Medan, Indonesia by KT, Melbourne, Australia by Mblamo, Melbourne, Australia by John, Memphis (TN), USA by SouthernHeart, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Mexico City, Mexico by Poly, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Minsk, Belarus by Olga, Misawa, Japan by misawa mama, Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Montpellier, France by Marie, Moscow, Russia by Irina, Mumbai, India by Kunalbhatia, Mumbai, India by Magiceye, Nancy, France by yoshi, Nashville (TN), USA by Chris, Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben, New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser, New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless, New York City (NY), USA by • Eliane •, Newport News (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norfolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, North Hampton (NH), USA by Amy, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Nottingham, UK by Gail's Man, Ocean Township (NJ), USA by Josy, Omsk, Russia by Nataly, Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla, Oslo, Norway by Lothiane, Owasso (OK), USA by Jennifer, Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen, Paris, France by Eric, Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Penang, Malaysia by Maltelda, Perth, Australia by Elevation7, Phoenix (AZ), USA by Cheryl, Pilisvörösvár, Hungary by Elise, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam, Port Townsend (WA), USA by raf, Port Vila, Vanuatu by Mblamo, Portsmouth (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03, Quincy (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea by Jules, Ramsey, Isle of Man by babooshka, Riga, Latvia by Riga Images, Rollag, Norway by Stormel, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saigon, Vietnam by Simon, Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate, Salem (OR), USA by jill, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by atc, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric, San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia, San Diego (CA), USA by Zentmrs, San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson, San Francisco (CA), USA by Louis la Vache, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Seoul, South Korea by Phil, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa, Sharon (CT), USA by Jenny, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, St Francis, South Africa by Sam, Stanwood (WA), USA by MaryBeth, Stavanger, Norway by Tanty, Stayton (OR), USA by Celine, Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo, Stouffville, Canada by Ken, Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC, Suffolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge, Sydney, Australia by Julie, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv, Tel-Aviv, Israel by Olga, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine, Torun, Poland by Glenn, Torun, Poland by Torun Observer, Toulouse, France by Julia, Turin, Italy by Livio, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Jazzy, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, Vichy, France by Delphsnl, Victoria, Canada by Benjamin Madison, Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2, Virginia Beach (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin, Washington (DC), USA by Rachel, Wassenaar, Netherlands by Rich, West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria, West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara, Weston (FL), USA by WestonDailyPhoto, Williamsburg (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Willits (CA), USA by Elaine, Yardley (PA), USA by Mrlynn,