Philip James De Loutherbourg
An Avalanche in the Alps 1803

Artwork details

An Avalanche in the Alps
Date 1803
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1099 x 1600 mm
frame: 1562 x 2052 x 175 mm
Acquisition Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1965
Not on display

Display caption

The Alps were a familiar landscape

for generations of British travellers, but it was only in the later part of the eighteenth century that their rugged and immense qualities were appreciated for their Sublime

associations. Here de Loutherbourg, who specialised in such landscapes, adds human drama to the avalanche’s awesome progress via the terrified people (foreground) soon to be overwhelmed by nature’s power. De Loutherbourg’s exploration of sublime effect was assisted by his work as a theatre set designer. He also created the ‘Eidophusikon’, a miniature theatre where landscapes were animated and accompanied by music and sound effects.

March 2010

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