This will be about my views on what it takes to put a three dimensional world onto a two dimensional surface. With a lot of digressing.
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Aug 3, 2009


THE SCREAM Edvard Munch
Just about everyone is familiar with this image, it's been used and abused. Never as much as the Mona Lisa, but still, done to death.
The critics and explainers have given it all kinds of deep meanings, but sometimes a painting is just a painting and a red sky at night may be no more than a sailor's delight.
Sometimes, but not always.
Munch painted this in 1893, painted it twice in fact, plus a pastel and a lithograph.
Krakatoa (more properly, Krakatau) erupted in August of 1883, when Munch was twenty years old. Some say that one has nothing to do with the other, but he is not the only artist that may have been affected by the dramatic colors in the sky that lingered for years.
"In the weeks following the eruption, fine fragments of tephra and dust that were propelled kilometers into the stratosphere began to make a ring around the equator. They would remain suspended there for years causing remarkable solar effects and atmospheric hazing as they bent the incoming light. Also the enormous volumes of sulfur dioxide gas molecules that were ejected into the atmosphere combined with water to make sulfuric acid. These acidic aerosols sufficiently blocked enough sunlight to drop the Earth's temperature by several degrees for a few years. Their presence in the atmosphere also created spectacular effects over 70% of the Earth's surface. Effects such as halos around the sun and moon, and amazing sunsets and sunrises were seen. For years these particles would remain suspended in the atmosphere being the final reminder of the massive and fatal blast that occurred in Sundra Straits. Simon Winchester, "Krakatoa"

JMW TURNER The Fighting Temeraire

Turner painted this in 1838-1839, which would have been much earlier than the Krakatoa event. But there was the eruption of Tambora, also in Indonesia, in 1815. And, between 1822 and 1838, there were eruptions of Vesuvius, Stromboli, and Etna.

Turner, like a lot of artists of his day, visited and painted in Venice.


  1. Another informative lesson. I had been reading this very thing about the Krakatoa/Munch connection in a Smithsonian magazine.

    When in Venice we saw a large Turner exhibit, but none so colorful as this.

  2. Thanks RG.I wonder how many of the impressionists were influenced...
    I'm hoping to get back to Turner on my blog, especially when I read that he wanted to be buried (when dead) wrapped in his favorite painting. Gotta check that out.
    I wouldn't fit into mine.