“Year without a summer” in Europe – caused by massive ash clouds, visible worldwide, in the wake of the eruption of Mount Tambora, 1816

The volcanic eruption in 1815 in what is now Indonesia causes the skies over Europe to darken for more than a year, bringing cold, rain, failed harvests, and famine. In Germany, the Rhine region is particularly hard hit.
The collective experience of this devastating natural event fuels the emergence of so-called Schwarze Romantik (or Dark Romanticism) – a subgenre of the Romantic movement in painting and literature, with themes that range from the dream state, the fantastical, witchcraft and the supernatural, to eroticism and death.