Joseph Mallord William TurnerVenice: Fireworks on the Molo 1840

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Artwork details

Venice: Fireworks on the Molo
Date 1840
MediumWatercolour, bodycolour and chalk on paper
Dimensionssupport: 228 x 300 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXVIII 10

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During the mid-1830s and the early 1840s Turner became increasingly interested in exploring dramatic effects of light and shade. Turner’s combination of dark-toned watercolour, bodycolour and chalk in this work is perfectly suited to the subject of fireworks at night. He uses only a few colours: blue, red and touches of dark brown and, most dramatically, white for the sparks of the fireworks.

Turner’s Venetian works on brown paper have recently been re-dated to 1840, although this continues to be controversial amongst scholars and the works may date from 1833.

September 2004

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