Viewing a single comment thread. View all comments

marketrent OP t1_jduy9dd wrote

Excerpt from the linked summary^1 about a paper^2 in PNAS:

>The study conducted by a team of scientists from the United States and Europe shows that artists such as Turner and Monet documented changes in atmospheric pollution in London and Paris through their paintings, providing a unique window into historical trends in air quality.

>The article demonstrates that the progression toward hazier contours and whiter color palettes in Turner and Monet’s paintings and other artists is consistent with the optical changes expected from higher atmospheric aerosol concentrations.

>Monet and Turner’s stylistic changes from more figurative to impressionistic suggested that their works could capture elements of the atmospheric environmental transformation during the Industrial Revolution.

>The study used a mixed-effects model to analyze the paintings, which allowed the researchers to account for both temporal and environmental trends.

>The model showed a significant dependence on emissions of sulfur dioxide – SO2 emissions – indicating that atmospheric pollution contributed to depicting the contrast in Turner and Monet’s paintings.

>The researchers note that while there are limitations to using paintings as a proxy for historical air quality, the evidence provided is complementary to instrumental measurements.

^1 Unfolding Impressionism: how Turner and Monet documented pollution. Josefina Cordera for United Academics Magazine, 16 Mar. 2023,

^2 Albright, A. L., & Huybers, P. (2023). Paintings by Turner and Monet depict trends in 19th-century air pollution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120(6).