Snow Storm

Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775-1851) – Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps, 1812 (Oil on canvas, Tate Gallery) – The painting depicts the struggle of Hannibal’s soldiers to cross the Maritime Alps in 218BC, opposed by the forces of nature and local tribes. The Carthaginian general is nowhere to be seen in this churning, nightmarish depiction of bedraggled invaders attacked by local forces in Val d’Aosta and buffeted by an awesome, almost apocalyptic storm. The giant, wavelike black cloud and the avalanche on the Alp at right express Turner’s vision of sublime nature, but this painting, realised when Napoleon was invading the same region, was also a political statement…



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