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Turner image

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851)
The Pass at Faido, St. Gotthard
Watercolor, point of brush, scratching out, over traces of pencil
11 15/16 x 18 1/2 inches (303 x 469 mm)
Thaw Collection; 2006.52
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On commission from John Ruskin, his most ardent patron, Turner began this drawing with quick pencil sketches worked up into a "sample study." In executing the finished watercolor, he widened the view and vertically compressed the design, eliminating the sky and lowering the viewpoint so that one feels about to be swept into the foreground torrent. Traveling to Faido in 1845, Ruskin was surprised to discover that "the mountains, compared with Turner's colossal conception, look pigmy & poor."

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.