Landscapes of great artists help scientists study the state of the atmosphere in the past

A group of Greek and German researchers became aware of the level of air pollution in 19th century Europe, thanks to the analysis of sunset colors displayed in paintings by painters of the past.

Vivid examples of this are the paintings of the English artist Joseph Turner and the Norwegian Edvard Munch. One of the most famous landscapes of D. Turner "Sunset in Petworth Park" was painted shortly after the eruption of the Tambor volcano in Indonesia in 1815, thanks to which the sky at sunset turned out to be so bright and colorful.

Edvard Munch's painting The Scream coincided with the eruption of another Indonesian volcano, Krakatoa, in 1883. Having carefully studied the canvas, scientists came to the conclusion that it was the huge amount of particles of ash and volcanic gas sprayed into the atmosphere that created such a unique play of colors.