J.M.W. Turner: The Three Rigis
Tate Britain: Exhibition
22 January 25 March 2007
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  • Joseph Mallord William Turner The Red Rigi 1842

    Joseph Mallord William Turner
    The Red Rigi 1842
    Watercolour on paper, unique
    support: 305 x 458 mm

    National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia: Felton Bequest, 1947

  • Joseph Mallord William Turner The Dark Rigi 1842

    Joseph Mallord William Turner
    The Dark Rigi 1842
    Watercolour on paper, unique
    support: 305 x 455 mm

    Private collection

Tate brings together for the first time ever three of J.M.W. Turner’s very greatest watercolour paintings: The Blue Rigi, The Dark Rigi and The Red Rigi.

Turner’s groundbreaking use of watercolour, which spanned his career, culminated in the early 1840s with a series of transcendent views of Swiss lakes and mountains. Chief among these are the three views of Mount Rigi as seen from Lake Lucerne. Each shows the mountain at a different time of day and is characterised by a defining colour or tone: dark, blue or red.

The Blue Rigi was Turner’s first attempt at recording the moment before dawn when the sun just perceptibly begins to chase away the cool darkness of night. Using subtly modulated washes of blue, Turner recreates the stillness and wonder of this instant, anticipating by many years the unified tonal approach to image-making of the Aesthetic Movement.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'The Blue Rigi, Sunrise' 1842

Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Blue Rigi, Sunrise 1842
Watercolour on paper
support: 297 x 450 mm
Purchased with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation and including generous support from David and Susan Gradel, and from other members of the public through the Save the Blue Rigi appeal) Tate Members and other donors 2007

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