Joseph Mallord William Turner

Commentary on Jacob van Ruisdael’s ‘Burst of Sunshine’ (‘Coup de Soleil’) (Inscription by Turner)

1802

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 128 x 114 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04298
Turner Bequest LXXII 22 a

Catalogue entry

As Finberg surmised, Turner’s remarks refer to Ruisdael’s picture, known as the ‘Coup de Soleil’ since at least 1804 when it was so described in Filhol’s Musée de France.1 For the picture and Turner’s copy, see folio 81 of this sketchbook (D04380). Turner’s notes read:
Landscape by G Rysdael | a fine colourd grey picture, full of truth | and finely treated as to light which falls | on the middle ground all beyond is of a deep ton’d greyish green. The sky rather | heavy but well managed, but possesses [Finberg: usurps] too much | of the Picture and the light. The objects near to | the light are poor and ill judged particularly about the Windmill inclin’d to be chalky. | The foreground dark violently so near the bright light that gives a crudeness inconsis | tent with the purity of the distance the | base of the picture particularly happy as | a grey tone that easies the Eye and gently glides into the shadows (somewhat the | color of the paper) The figures are by Bergem | but they do not accord with the general | tone of the picture Fortunately they are placed | in the defective part of the piece and therefore [continued on folio 23 (D04299)] create some kind of interest.
Slive notes but is inclined to dismiss the tradition that the figures in the picture were added by Nicolaes Berchem.2 Filhol, on the other hand, ascribed them to Philips Wouverman. For Turner’s other copies and commentaries after Ruisdael in this sketchbook, see the double-page spread on folios 14 verso–15 (D04289–D04290), and folio 23 (Tate D04299).

David Blayney Brown
July 2005

1
Antoine Michel Filhol, Galerie du Musée de France, Paris 1804–15, vol.I, 12th livraison, p.5 reproduced.
2
Slive 2001, pp.347–8.

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