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, 1843
Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, 1775±1851)
Watercolor over graphite
11 3/4 x 18 3/8 in. (29.8 x 46.6 cm) Marquand Fund, 1959 (59.120)
Returning from an extended sojourn in the Swiss Alps, Turner approached his agent
with the novel idea of soliciting patrons for large watercolors to be based on sketches
from the trip. This view was commissioned by Hugh Andrew Johnstone Munro of
Novar (1797±1864) as part of the scheme in 1843, and was later owned by John
Ruskin (1819±1900). It exhibits the technical prowess that made Turner controversial
and celebrated. The monumental forms of the lake and mountains reveal successive
layers of color²applied in fluent watercolors, drier washes, and semi-opaque
mixtures²while the hazy mist and glittering reflections were scraped out of already
painted areas, recovering the smooth white surface of the paper. This painting has a
palette that is based around blue and orange. Because blue and orange are
complementary colors you see a very significant difference between the blue lake, and
the orange banks and sides of the lake, crowded with people. The colors simply get
darker or lighter. This painting could be confused at first sight with a religious painting
for the fact that it has a strong light shining on the people/characters represented in it.
You could say that this painting is quite a subjective piece of art, because of its
smunge figures and lines living it a an unrealistic piece of art. Even though this is not
a three dimensional art work, but a painting, you can still percieve a sense of texture
on the surface. The lines are made in such a way that they look wavy and therefore
also gives the painting a sense of movement. I think that the purpouse if the painting
is to convey the feelings that he felt during that moment.