20 Historical Figures With Severe Mental Issues Who Shaped Our World

Art experts have described The Scream as an icon of modern art, a Mona Lisa for our time. YouTube.

19. Edvard Munch’s Panic Attacks are “Legally to Blame” for the Creation of One of the Greatest Paintings in History

Even though his name might not ring a bell, it’s a safe bet that most of you have probably seen his iconic painting “The Scream” at least once before. Edvard Munch, one of the founders of the “Expressionist Movement” in art, probably suffered from bipolar disorder with psychosis based on his own diary descriptions of visual and auditory hallucinations. The most painful event in Edvard Munch’s life was the premature death of his mother from tuberculosis when he was five years old. This tragedy was compounded when his older sister also died of tuberculosis when Munch was thirteen.

All this trauma was intensified by the poverty experienced by the Munch family, despite the fact that Edvard’s father was a physician. The panic attack that inspired the iconic painting occurred in Oslo in January 1892, which the legendary Norwegian artist is recorded in his diary as it follows: “One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature.”