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The Sea and the Alps

The extensive travels of J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851) through Britain and continental Europe provided an inexhaustible source of inspiration for his visionary color compositions, imaginative landscapes, and turbulent, often violent marine paintings. In Switzerland, he experienced both the beauty and the menace of the Alps, while by the sea, he observed the colorful harmonies of diffuse light. These experiences laid the groundwork for Turner to elevate landscape painting to an eminence that rivaled history painting. But how did he get there?

Presenting this incomparably original artist on his route to autonomy in art, Turner traces the London artist’s travels as he extended his search for motifs to Central Europe during the continent’s temporary peace in 1802. He spent much time journeying through the mountains of Switzerland, constantly sketching his impressions of the scenes around him. Upon his return to London, he developed the unique imagery of his sublime landscape paintings. Through one hundred color illustrations that tell a story about the forces of nature of the sea and the Swiss mountain landscapes, the authors here examine the change Turner brought to the portrayal of the sublime and the subject of weather phenomena. Other essays explore Turner’s role as the forerunner of modernism and reflect on the relationship between the artist and travel.

Bringing together the symphony of colors that composed Turner’s view of Switzerland’s awe-inspiring landscapes, this book sheds new light on the artist’s vision of the Alps and the sea.

180 pages | 100 color plates | 8 x 10 | © 2019

Art: Art--General Studies

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