Joseph Mallord William Turner The Battle of Trafalgar, as Seen from the Mizen Starboard Shrouds of the Victory 1806–8

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Artwork details

Title
The Battle of Trafalgar, as Seen from the Mizen Starboard Shrouds of the Victory
Date 1806–8
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1708 x 2388 mm
frame: 2181 x 2860 x 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
N00480
On display at Tate Britain

Display caption

Turner made close observation of the ships shown here, but the painting of the battle in which Admiral Nelson died is not simply detailed reportage. Sails and cannon smoke arrest the eye, creating a claustrophobic backdrop, while the action appears to thrust outwards. The viewer is confronted by both the chaos of battle and the intimate tragedy of Nelson’s final moments. A contemporary reviewer termed this a ‘British epic picture...the first picture of the kind that has ever...been exhibited’.

February 2010

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