Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

“The Scream,” by Edvard Munch.

“The Scream,” by Edvard Munch is the Mona Lisa for our time. What do you see in it? Many people believe it shows a man screaming. Not so. It’s a person hearing a “scream.”

The painting is based on Munch’s own experience of a scream piercing through nature while on a walk by a fjord overlooking Oslo in 1892. His two companions—seen in the background—had left him.

Munch was walking by a fjord overlooking Oslo in 1892 when the sky turned blood red and his mind filled with sudden anxiety. That’s where the inspiration for the painting came from.

As Leonardo Da Vinci evoked a Renaissance ideal of serenity and self-control, Munch defined how we see our own age, wracked with anxiety and uncertainty.

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The Dark Tide

On January 15, 1919, an unseasonably warm winter day in Boston, a dark tide swept through its streets.

A giant metal tank holding more than two million gallons of molasses burst open, releasing a massive wave of a dark amber fluid that gushed out into the surrounding area, taking the form of a shallow, but very dense and dangerous stream.

 

The Dome That Dwarfed All Domes

The Volkshalle.

The Volkshalle (German for “People’s Hall”) was a domed building of Martian proportions, planned by Adolf Hitler and his architect, Albert Speer. Speer’s monolith, inspired by the Pantheon, was to be truly colossal, dwarfing every other structure in Berlin.

The hemisphere was to rise from a massive, square granite podium to 950 feet and was 820 feet across. The oculus, the round opening in its ceiling, at a diameter of 150 feet, alone would’ve been so big that the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica could’ve been lowered through it.

Picture the hall packed with triumphant, chanting Nazis, their breath condensing on the underside of the arch.