The Art of the Sublime

ISBN 978-1-84976-387-5

Philip James De Loutherbourg An Avalanche in the Alps 1803

Philip James De Loutherbourg 'An Avalanche in the Alps' 1803
Philip James De Loutherbourg 1740–1812
An Avalanche in the Alps 1803
Oil paint on canvas
support: 1099 x 1600 mm; frame: 1562 x 2052 x 175 mm
Tate T00772
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1965
The Alps were a familiar landscape for generations of British travellers, but it was only in the later part of the eighteenth century that their rugged and immense qualities were appreciated for their sublime associations. Here de Loutherbourg, who specialised in such landscapes, adds human drama to the avalanche’s awesome progress via the terrified people (foreground) soon to be overwhelmed by nature’s power. De Loutherbourg’s exploration of sublime effect was assisted by his work as a theatre set designer. He also created the ‘Eidophusikon’, a miniature theatre where landscapes were animated and accompanied by music and sound effects.

How to cite

Philip James De Loutherbourg, An Avalanche in the Alps 1803, in Nigel Llewellyn and Christine Riding (eds.), The Art of the Sublime, Tate Research Publication, January 2013,, accessed 19 October 2021.