J. M. W. Turner


Every spring the ice melts at St. Gotthard’s Pass in the Alps near Faido and turns the Ticino River into a torrent that sweeps rocks downstream. Turner traveled there on a tour of Switzerland in 1842 and made a rapid sketch that he showed to John Ruskin on his return to England. Ruskin promptly commissioned this finished watercolor from Turner, arguing that it was “the greatest work he produced in the last period of his art.” Turner himself made the rare comment that he was pleased with the result.

J. M. W. Turner
British; 1775–1851
The Pass at St. Gotthard, near Faido, 1843
Watercolor over graphite