Art History Happy Hour: The Scream

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October has arrived! 

This is by far my favorite month of the year. October marks a certain crispness in the air, the sound of crunching leaves beneath boots, bare tree branches reaching upward into a prematurely darkening sky…. oh wait, I live in the tropics and none of that happens! Literally the only fall colors we see here are in the sweaters we all insist on wearing despite it being about 10 degrees too warm.


To usher in that feeling of fall I rely heavily on my October traditions, namely binge watching my too-large horror film collection while drinking hard cider. It was during the prepping of my movie marathon (I take it very seriously, excel spreadsheets may or may not be involved) it hit me that horrific art deserves more of my attention.


Edvard Munch’s Love and Pain is known colloquially as Vampire for obvious reasons

Whether it is art used to inspire my favorite film genre (The Scream inspired the mask worn by Ghost Face in the 1996 film Scream) or just works that give me the heebie jeebies, spooky sculptures and petrifying paintings should become part of our October traditions. In an attempt to make this happen I have developed another art-history inspired cocktail to drink with your favorite horror film or to serve at that Halloween party for which you’re desperately Pinteresting.

I give you the Bloody Screamsicle Munchmosa.


Your drink will look something like this. Not so scary but the hangover can be so make sure to hydrate!


¾ cup blood orange juice

2 ounces marshmallow or vanilla vodka

1 bottle of champagne

blood orange slice for garnish (optional)


Combine blood orange juice and vodka into a measuring cup. Pour about ¼ of a cup into each glass, then fill the remaining space with champagne. Garnish as desired. Serves 4.

Alright, using Edvard Munch’s The Scream as a jumping off point may seem like an obvious choice; it is and I’m unapologetic. Not only is it one of the most iconic and parodied images in all of art history, it’s also one of the creepiest. Munch’s art was informed by a childhood that with some minor tweaks has the makings of a sad and terrifying contagion flick; his father was an obsessively pious doctor, Munch’s mother and favorite sister both died of tuberculosis when he was young, and another sister was diagnosed with mental illness and sent to an asylum. Munch would write that, “I inherited two of mankind’s most frightful enemies—the heritage of consumption and insanity.”  


Munch’s The Sick Child is just one of six paintings he created on the subject of his sister’s death. On view at Tate Britain.

Painted amidst a series of affairs with married women which only deepened his already tortured view of life, Munch was inspired to paint The Scream after viewing a sunset, saying “I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red…there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city… I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”


Visit The Scream at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo

And thus we have the inspiration for our drink’s signature ingredient, blood orange juice. This delicious (but very sweet) mimosa is probably too weak for our alcoholic artist but it is just right for October brunch.  

Happy October and happy drinking!


Blog and beverage brought to you by Sarah Oesterling

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Sarah Oesterling


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