Left: "The Scream," by Edvard Munch
(Oslo, Norway) A Norwegian court ordered two men to pay $122 million in damages today after convicting them of the 2004 theft of the Edvard Munch masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna." The men were sentenced to jail terms of 7-1/2 years, while another man was convicted for driving the getaway car; three other men were acquitted.
The works by the Norwegian artist - which are still missing - were stolen by masked gunmen from Oslo's Munch Museum in August 2004.
Despite international efforts by police, plus a $328,000 reward, the paintings have never been recovered.
The Scream (Skrik, 1893) is regarded by many people as the most important work of Edvard Munch. The most common interpretation of the painting is that it is a symbolization of modern man in a moment of existential angst.
Munch, who died in 1944 at age 80, was a major influence on the 20th-century expressionist movement.
Left: Culkin's take on "The Scream"
As a side note, "The Scream" also served as the inspiration for one of the most famous movie stills in American cinematography: a young Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister in "Home Alone."
Astronomers in 2003 claimed to have identified the time that the painting depicted. The volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 created brilliant sunsets throughout Europe in the winter of 1883-4 due to the tremendous amount of volcanic dust in the atmosphere.
The Krakatoa eruption produced erratic weather and spectacular sunsets throughout the world for many months afterwards. This planetary volcanic dust layer reduced the amount of sunlight reaching the earth's surface. In the year after the eruption global temperatures fell an average of 1.2 degrees Celsius.