Did you know that the eruption of Krakatoa in August 1883 might have prompted Edvard Munch to paint The Scream? Here's the theory circulated by a couple of physicists in an article in 2004.
Munch, they say, while strolling dockside with friends, actually witnessed the extraordinary Oslo sunset he obsessed over. So much so that he painted it at least four times.
Newspaper accounts worldwide in 1883 recorded blood-red skies as well as a "sanguinary" sea. In November, three months after the eruption, an Oslo newspaper recorded a "strong light" in the west that people thought was fire.
The disturbed Munch later wrote: "I stopped, leaned against the railing . . . . And I looked at the flaming clouds that hung like blood . . . . My friends walked on . . . . And I felt a loud unending scream, piercing nature."
The Rescue Artist by Edward Dolnick (2004) documents this as well as the 1994 theft and recovery of The Scream from Oslo's National Gallery.The thieves raised a ladder to a second story window, and went in and out without setting off an alarm.
I'll bet the guard in the basement—who wasn't watching his monitors—closely resembled Munch's masterpiece when he finally realized what had happened.
And, by the way, The Scream(s) are painted on . . . cardboard!