Thursday, 22 December 2011
The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons
JMW Turner paints up a stormContinuing his December-long series of favourite wintry artworks, Jonathan Jones is blown over by the sublime force of JMW Turner's Swiss snowslide – The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons
Thursday 15 December 2011
The overwhelming power of nature crushes trees and smashes rocks in Turner’s wintry vision of disaster. In the Romantic era when this was painted, artists and poets alike succumbed to the ‘sublime’, the fascination of what scares us. The huge weight of Alpine mountain snow that plummets downwards in this avalanche is sublime; it thrills us with terror. But somehow that seems an inadequate description of this painting’s force. It is a great painting because Turner observes, with almost scientific precision, the way the snow shifts – its mass, acceleration and impact.