This subject comes from Virgil’s poem, the Aeneid. The misty landscape depicts gateway to the Underworld, amongst dancing figures and a snake in the foreground, which hint at death and the mysteries of the Underworld.
Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Golden Bough
104.1 x 163.8 cm
Oil on canvas
Date of work
Original: Oil on canvas 104.1 x 163.8 cm ® Tate, London
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.