About this artwork

The distinctive architecture of the Rialto Bridge is depicted in shade, immediately enhancing its powerful presence across the Grand Canal. Turner used the whiteness of the paper itself to describe the sun bleached facades of the buildings, simply suggesting the architectural detail with a few light touches of the brush. The contrast of light and shadow between buildings and bridge is striking. Turner also captured the colourful character of the busy canal traffic and its reflections in the water. This drawing is connected with the artist's last visit to Venice in 1840.

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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.

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