Turner's portrayal of Hannibal leading his army across Italy expresses man’s vulnerability in the face of nature’s overwhelming force of the impending storm. The struggling figures are soldiers and the sun adds light to the mountainous landscape.
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps
126 x 237.5 cm
Oil on canvas
Date of work
Joseph Mallord William Turner was born in London; he remained a Londoner and kept a Cockney accent all his life despite dominating British landscape painting throughout the first half of the 19th century. He established a reputation in the Royal Academy, first as a topographical watercolourist and then within a few years as a painter of sublime and historical landscapes. From the mid-1790s he settled on the routine he maintained for much of his life: touring in summer and working in the studio in the winter months. He opened his own gallery and had many patrons and admirers as well as detractors. After his death a large body of his works in oil and watercolour was given to the British nation, with many on show at Tate Britain.