Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons exhibited 1810

Artwork details

The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons
Date Exhibited 1810
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 902 x 1200 mm
frame: 1350 x 1660 x 165 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
On display at Tate Britain

Display caption

Dramatic Alpine scenes were a stock feature of Sublime landscape. Though Turner had visited the Alps in 1802, there is no evidence that he visited the area represented in this picture, or that he actually witnessed an avalanche. Instead, the stimulus for creating this scene may have been reports of an avalanche that occurred at Selva in the Grisons in December 1808, killing twenty-five people. Yet far from attempting reportage, Turner creates an almost abstract scene of overwhelming elemental forces.

September 2004

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