About this artwork

The moon is shown as a small but intense semi circle of light emerging from cloud above the falls and reflected in the waters below. Turner applied a light tonal wash before working up the composition in colour. He used pen to suggest the wooded character of the steep banks and included a little more architecture than in other views of the Falls. Cooler tones dominate, appropriate for the moonlit scene. It is inscribed at the bottom left: Falls of the Rhine / 1841.

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Joseph Mallord William Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner

Turner transformed the art of landscape painting in Britain. From detailed topographical studies to expansive, atmospheric vistas his works celebrate the diversity and emotive power of nature. He was born in Covent Garden, the son of a barber, and exhibited his earliest sketches in his father's shop before studying at the Royal Academy Schools. Turner became the youngest ever full member of the Royal Academy in 1802. His experimental use of watercolour and oils achieved stunning effects, attracting contemporary criticism and praise. Turner's admiration of past masters, above all Claude Lorraine, and the numerous sketches made on many tours in Britain and abroad, provided the basis for his 'sublime' land and seascapes.