Joseph Mallord William Turner

Composition Study: An Army Climbing to the Crest of a Mountain

1798

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: 135 x 95 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D01576
Turner Bequest XL 67

Catalogue entry

This is probably, as Finberg suggested,1 a study for an unexecuted picture of Hannibal crossing the Alps. The idea is perhaps derived from the lost 1776 oil painting of the subject by John Robert Cozens (1752–1797), or of an alternative composition which survives in a circular drawing;2 the British Museum curator Kim Sloan considers it a ‘free interpretation’ of Cozens’s subject,3 which was exhibited as A Landscape, with Hannibal in his March over the Alps, showing to his Troops the Fertile Plains of Italy at the Royal Academy. The studies of warriors on folios 6 verso–7 recto and 13 recto (D01472–D01473, D01484; Turner Bequest XL 6a–7, 13) may relate to the design.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.96.
2
See Sloan 1986, pl.120.
3
Ibid., p.[110].

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