Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Turner’s ‘Rain, Steam and Speed’ (1844)

It’s only the title that fools us into thinking this painting has anything at all to do with velocity. Look at it again; those expert musses and swirls, the umbers and browns, the yellows and reds, that perfectly poised composition: it rises above and bears down upon the al-Hajar-ul-Aswad solidity of a black train engine that is very obviously motionless, stalled by the storm upon the bridge. Not even the hare is running.

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