Embrace Nordic noir on the trail of artist Edvard Munch at the British Museum and beyond

18th Apr 19 | Lifestyle

A major new exhibition at the British Museum sheds light on the work of Norway's greatest artist. But where else can you follow in his footsteps?


Nordic noir was popularised by TV dramas like The Killing and The Bridge, but long before those moody, monochrome programmes hit our screens, one Norwegian artist was channelling similar themes.

Struck by terror, his iconic painting of a gaunt, screaming figure set against a blood-red sky was declared a masterpiece – and has even inspired its own “shock-faced” emoji. The Scream is one of many works created by expressionist artist Edvard Munch, whose work spanned the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Edvard Munch Self Portrait (The Trustees of the British Museum/PA)
Edvard Munch Self Portrait (The Trustees of the British Museum/PA)

A large number are displayed in the British Museum’s new exhibition, Edvard Munch: Love And Angst – the largest collection of his prints to be shown in the UK for 45 years.

But if you want to dig deeper into the life and times of the famous artist, try visiting these places too.

The ultimate collection: Munch Museum, Oslo

Home to more than half of the artist’s paintings, Oslo’s Munch Museum gives an excellent overview of his work: It holds 1,150 paintings, 18,000 prints, 7,700 drawings and watercolours, and 13 sculptures. Next year, the collection will move from Toyen to a new building in Bjorvika, where workshops will also take place. Tickets for the current museum cost 120NOK/£11. Visit munchmuseet.no/en.

A source of inspiration: Asgardstrand

The coastal town of Asgardstrand, an hour’s drive from Oslo, became a summer refuge for Munch, and provided inspiration for paintings such as Melancholy, The Voice and The Girls On The Bridge. The fisherman’s cottage he purchased in 1947 – described as his “happy place” – now operates as a museum, while the pretty streets filled with galleries, cafes and white wooden houses continue to attract artists today.

Art at sea and on land: Viking Shores & Fjords

A Viking ship sails into Oslo (Viking/PA)
A Viking ship sails into Oslo (Viking/PA)

Cruise line Viking, who are supporters of the British Museum’s exhibition, also own one of the largest private collections of Munch paintings outside Oslo, with 28 original pieces displayed on their ships. As part of their eight-day Viking Shores & Fjords voyage, guests can go behind the scenes at Oslo’s Munch Museum to view artefacts not currently on display. The trip costs from £2,790. Visit vikingcruises.co.uk.

Edvard Munch: Love And Angst runs until July 21, 2019 at the British Museum, London. Visit britishmuseum.org.

© Press Association 2019