Scientists have announced that people need to stop breathing on Edvard Munch’s iconic expressionist painting The Scream.

Researchers looking to discern the reason behind the painting’s deterioration ascertained that human breath contributed to its damage.

The famous artwork was studied using x-ray probes, which determined that Munch had mistakenly used an impure cadmium yellow paint, which is vulnerable in low humidity (such as when it is breathed upon).

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Areas of the painting where the yellow is used – on the sunset, lake and parts of the screaming figure’s face, have faded and, in some cases, begun to flake off.

Cadmium-based yellow paints were also used by some of Munch’s contemporaries, including Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse.

The researchers’s study, , states that Munch’s use of unorthodox pigments “poses a challenge for the long-term preservation of Munch’s artworks because of their tendency to undergo photo-chemical transformations causing color changes and/or structural damage”.

In 2004, The Scream was stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo by two gunmen. It was recovered two years later, but bore damage to its cardboard and a dirty water mark.

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