Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sunset From the Top of the Rigi


Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 722 × 981 mm
frame: 836 × 1096 × 57 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Display caption

A couple of years after his visit to Switzerland, Turner appears to have begun work on two canvasses of the same size. This painting and its companion, Lake Lucerne, are smaller than most pictures destined for exhibition, but larger than the majority of Turner’s Venetian scenes.

It shows Turner laying down areas of bright colour in a particularly confident manner, which reflects the advances he was making in his watercolour painting.

Gallery label, February 2010

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Catalogue entry

522. [N05486] Mountain Landscape c. 1840–5


Canvas, 28 × 38 (71 × 96·5)

Coll. Turner Bequest 1856 (140, one of 2 each 3'2" × 2'4" with No. 521; identified 1946 by a chalk number on back); transferred to the Tate Gallery 1947.

Exh. R.A. 1974–5 (570, repr.).

Lit. Davies 1946, pp. 159, 188; Butlin 1981, p. 45.

Companion to No. 521 [N05476]. The viewpoint of this picture, apparently looking down over a valley that runs in diagonally from the lower right-hand corner, is close to that of the National Gallery of Victoria's Val d' Aosta (No. 520).

As in the case of the companion picture, there are signs that other pictures were leant against it in Turner's studio while the paint was still not completely dry. There are paint-losses down the left-hand edge, now restored.

Published in:
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984

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