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16. Desember 2004  
Munch's Madonna damaged

MadonnaNewspaper VG claims that a range of 'independent sources' have information about the stolen Munch masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna".

Munch's "Madonna" is rumored to have suffered serious damage during its theft from the Munch Museum in Oslo.

Both paintings were taken in the surprise raid on the Munch Museum on Aug. 22 this year. VG claims that sources from both the art world and criminal sources say that at least one of the paintings has been seriously damaged.

Witnesses said that both paintings received very rough treatment as the thieves removed them from their frames in the course of their escape. The "Madonna" is reportedly ruined.

VG reported that an underworld source claimed to have seen the paintings in Norway and confirmed the damage to "Madonna". The paper said that several sources assert that the paintings remain in Norway.

Police said that their investigation is continuing and that they remain optimistic. The getaway car can now be linked to several suspects known by name.

Via Aftenposten News in English.


20. November 2004  
Munch head stolen

munchhode.jpgThe head of a bust portraying Norwegian artist Edvard Munch located near his grave in Oslo had its head cut off and stolen, police said Thursday.

The bust by Norwegian sculptor Arne Durban of Norway's best known artist was placed on the so-called Honor Ground of Our Savior's Cemetery in 1992 by friends of the Munch Museum in Oslo.

"We don't know the exact time of the theft, but that it was sometime between Monday and today," police inspector Britt Togba of the Oslo police said Thursday. She said they were seeking evidence at the scene, and tips from the public.

Munch's body is interred in a nondescript nearby tomb in one of the city's oldest graveyards that dates back to 1808. Norwegian writers Henrik Ibsen and Bjrnstjerne Bjrnson, who won the 1903 Nobel Literature Prize, are buried a few meters away.

So far, no trace has been found of the paintings stolen in the Aug. 22 armed robbery.

Via Aftenposten News in English.


5. November 2004  
Munch museum considered moved

ScreamIn light of the thefts of two famous Munch paintings, there has been a call for increased security measures. The cost is huge, and it has been suggested to move the museum.

Det Norske Veritas (DNV) has evaluated the security at the Munch museum and claims the current museum has to be upgraded for between NOK 200 and 300 million (USD 31.5 and 47.2 million), reported the Norwegian daily Aftenposten.

DNV does not recommend a reopening of the museum until the upgrading have been completed. Among other things, it is suggested that a metal detector is installed at the entry and the most valuable paintings secured behind glass bolted into the wall.

These upgrades alone amount to about NOK 20 to 30 million (USD 3.1 and 4.7 million), but it does not end there. The costs of a number of required measures have been estimated to between NOK 200 and 300 million (USD 31.5 and 47.2 million).

We have to evaluate if this is an investment that we should do, or if we instead should build a completely new space at Vestbanen, said Anette Wiig Bryn, cultural city council member, to the paper.

Wiig Bryn said the city council will evaluate both the suggestions.

But I'm not going to hide that I think Vestbanen is a better alternative as we are building a library there for NOK 600 million (USD 95 million), Wiig Bryn stated.

Via Nettavisen News in English.


6. September 2004  
Unique shipwreck found in good shape

Unique shipwreckThe wreckage of a ship dating from the 14th century has been found by divers in the Skien River in Telemark. Archaeologists have a new treasure on their hands, because the wreckage can offer rare insight into vessel construction in the Middle Ages.

Many had feared that the vessel from the Middle Ages was damaged when it was first discovered during dredging operations in the 1950s.

"The dredging brought up large portions of the vessel's woodwork in 1953, and marine archaeologists thought the vessel itself had been destroyed," Pl Nymoen of the Norwegian Maritime Museum in Oslo told newspaper Aftenposten.

The use of divers in marine archaeology wasn't very advanced at the time, he noted, and the shipwreck dubbed Blevraket was largely forgotten.

It resurfaced, so to speak, this summer when Norwegian authorities decided to place stones along the bottom of the Skien River, which runs into open sea south of Oslo, to hinder underwater erosion. Divers from the Norwegian Maritime Museum were sent into the area, to check whether any cultural treasures remained.

It didn't take long before they could report the re-discovery of wreckage that seemed largely intact. The vessel is believed to have been built during the late 1300s either in Scandinavia or the Baltic region.

The vessel was single-masted and is believed to have been about 20 meters long. Archaeologists think it was sailing from Eidsborg in Lrdal when it sank. The wreckage is lying at a depth of just 10 meters, around 300 meters upstream from Menstad.

Nymoen, who's thrilled over the discovery, is planning a full excavation of the vessel and hopes to raise its smallest portions. "We don't know much about Norwegian vessels from the Middle Ages, except that they became bigger, wider and could carry more cargo over the years," he said. "Pictures have been found in churches and on stone monuments."

"Our goal is to secure as much as possible from the vessel," he said.

Via Aftenposten News in English. Photo: Norwegian Maritime Museum


10. Desember 2003  
Volcanic eruption inspired Munch

Munch's the ScreamAmerican researchers claim to have found the answer to the blood-red sky in Edvard Munch's famous painting "the Scream." The inspiration came from a volcanic eruption in Indonesia in 1883.

In the first detailed analysis to find of the source of inspiration for Munch to paint the world famous painting "the Scream," researchers at Texas State University state that they found the place where Munch stood when he saw the bright red sky.

In the analysis which was published Tuesday in the magazine Sky & Telescope, Professor Donald Olson and his colleagues claim that a volcanic mass was admitted out into the atmosphere from a large volcanic eruption on the island of Krakatoa in Indonesia. It created a bright red light in the sky over Europe from November 1883 to February 1884, and it was this light Munch saw when he was inspired to paint "the Scream."

In his diary, Munch wrote that he got the inspiration to paint the picture from an experience he had outside Kristiania (now Oslo) at sunset:

"Suddenly, the sky turned blood-red, clouds as blood and flames hang over the blue-black fjord and town. I was standing alone, trembling with fear. I sensed a grate, infinite scream pass through nature."

Read the story in Nettavisen, News in English.


23. November 2003  
The man who gave The Beatles away

Click to enlargeSaturday afternoon I was lucky enough to enjoy a couple of hours at Atlantis Pub here in Oslo listening to The Beatles' first manager Allan Williams. Allan Williams is also known as the man who gave The Beatles away (to Brian Epstein) and is also in the top 5 list of the worst business decisions ever made.

Allan was managing The Beatles from 1959 to 1961, when they were just a group begging to play at different venues in and around Liverpool. Later they left for Germany, where they played at the Star Club in Hamburg. The great Liverpool bands in those days were Rory Storm and the Hurricanes and Gerry and the Pacemakers. The Hurricanes drummer, Richard Starkey, (a.k.a. Ringo Starr) later left the Hurricanes and joined The Beatles and the rest we all know.

We all tend to think that it was Liverpool that shaped and formed The Beatles and their sound. Not at all, says Allan Williams. The Beatles became what they were because of their playing in Hamburg.

You'll find a few pictures from the happening here. And while you are at it, take a look at Rune Lund's collection of Beatles mementos.

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2. Oktober 2003  
John M. Coetzee who?

Click to enlargeSo they've done it again! The Swedish Academy have awarded the Nobel Price in Literature 2003 to a (at least to me) complete nobody. Of course it's the members of the Academy who decide the laureate, but why can't we have an author who is well known outside the Academy's circles?

There were rumours that Margaret Atwood was nominated and there's been a long time since any american writer got it. Why not Bob Dylan? His lyrics has influenced at least two generations all over the world.

But then again, who really cares. We read whatever we like regardless of who gets the price anyway.

Read the Swedish Academy's arguments.



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