Home » Arts and Entertainment

Artists And Paintings During The Little Ice Age

Aug 21, 2008
Some of northern Europe's greatest artists used oil and brush to set the mood that many associate with the Little Ice Age: snowy and dank. Pieter Bruegel the Elder may have used the frigid winter of 1565 as source material for the dull, greenish sky of 'Hunters in the Snow', part of his series of seasonal depictions. This was one of the first portrayals of a snowy landscape in European art, noted William Burroughs in the British Journal 'Weather'.

Bruegel extended the wintry theme to other topics, including 'The Adoration of the Magi in the Snow'. Many Dutch artists, notably Hendrick Averkamp, took to cold-weather depictions in the mid-1600s, another period of brutal chill across the region.

The northern Renaissance also spawned a new realism in sky portraiture. Back in the early 1400s, Flemish painter Jan van Eyck was one of the first to depict cloud types that a meteorologist today might recognise and label. Hans Neuberger quantified the treatment of clouds by US and European painters in recent study that appeared in 'Weather'.

Sampling 41 museums in nine countries, Neuberger examined more than 12,000 paintings produced between 1400 and 1667. He found that blue skies, which predominated up to 1550, gave way to low clouds in more than half of the post-1550 paintings. Neuberger didn't attempt to analyse how much of the trend was related to the Little Ice Age weather and how much to artistic fashion.

English landscape painters of the Little Ice Age held true to their island's cloudy climate. Every English sky examined by Neuberger had at least some cloudiness, and the sky was typically a pale blue at best. The English Romantic artist J.M.W. Turner specialised in foggy, misty tableaux as well as striking sunsets; the latter may have reflected the volcanic dust that added vivid hues to many sunsets in the early 1800s.

Later in the century, the gigantic Krakatoa eruption of 1883 let to sunsets so striking they were noted in press reports in New York and London. According to astronomer Donald Olson of Texas State University, Krakatoa may also have inspired Edward Munch's iconic masterpiece, 'The Scream'. In describing what triggered the painting, Munch wrote of experiencing a 'blood-red' sunset in present-day Oslo that resembled 'a great unending scream piercing through nature' - though Munch didn't give a date for this experience. Although a full decade separates the eruption from 'The Scream', Olson believes that Munch may have encountered a Krakatoa sunset and waied years to depict it.

The legendary frost fairs held on the River Thames in London during occasional freeze-ups were captured in a number of paintings, including 'A Frost Fair on the Thames at Temple Stairs' (1684) by Dutch painter Abraham Hondius. However, these festivals weren't as frequent as one might assume. Outside of the especially frigid mid-1600s, the Thames froze at London only about once every twenty or thirty years from the 1400s until 1814, when the last freeze-up was recorded.

Moreover, it wasn't the end of the Little Ice Age that ended the frost fairs. When London Bridge was replaced in the 1830s, it allowed the tide to sweep further inland. This made it virtually impossible for the Thames to freeze at London, and it hasn't happened since.
About the Author
James Nash is a climate scientist with Greatest Planet (www.greatestplanet.org). Greatest Planet is a non-profit environmental organization specialising in carbon offset investments.

James Nash is solely responsible for the contents of this article.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 160
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources