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The Eruption of the Soufriere Mountains in the Island of St. Vincent, 30th April 1812. The painting by Turner

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The Eruption of the Soufriere Mountains in the Island of St. Vincent, 30th April 1812

This night landscape was produced by Turner based on a sketch by Hugh P. Keane of the eruption of La Soufrière, a volcano located in the Island of St. Vincent, in the Caribbean. It was painted around the time of the eruption, and exhibited for the first time in 1815, being now in possession of the Victoria Gallery and Museum, in the University of Liverpool.

Even if we do not have access to the sketch that inspired it, the influence of Turner’s style of depiction can be indicative of a certain amount of artistic license being taken. The first and foremost aspect that could be seen as evidence of the artist’s style is the way in which he uses color and contrast to create a vivid and dynamic landscape, giving live to the paint on the canvas.

The seismic activity that names the painting lies in the background, a torrent of fire in tones of yellow and orange lighting the skies of the Caribbean, spewing fire and molten rock through the whole landscape. A body of water occupies the foreground, possibly a river, from where the observer of this grandiose natural event watches, accompanied by a nearby rowboat, as small fires are started in the heavy vegetation by the landing volcano debris.

Perhaps the most evocative aspect of this painting is Turner’s use of light and darkness. The only source of light in the composition, La Soufrière’s burst of flames reflects not only off the water but also off the heavy clouds, making it seem like the very skies have been set on fire by the flaming lava that soars from the mountain. Such is the might of the explosion that the very mountain is reduced to a dark silhouette, being at the same time the main character and the background of the scene.

Another aspect that is very often present in Turner’s work is the artist’s capability of conducting the focus of the observer’s eyes through the canvas. Even though the composition of the painting is centralized, one can’t help but run their eyes through each detail of the scene, from the small forest fires that populate the darkness to the crew of the rowboat and the various trajectories of the flaming rock setting fire to the night sky.

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Item Number: 18698583

The Eruption of the Soufriere Mountains in the Island of St. Vincent, 30th April 1812

Joseph Mallord William Turner

Get hand painted museum quality reproduction of "The Eruption of the Soufriere Mountains in the Island of St. Vincent, 30th April 1812" by Joseph Mallord William Turner. The Reproduction will be hand painted by one of our talented artist. "The Eruption of the Soufriere Mountains in the Island of St. Vincent, 30th April 1812" by Joseph Mallord William Turner Reproduction will come with Free Certificate of Authenticity that verifies the authenticity of the hand painted fine art reproduction you purchased.

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The Eruption of the Soufriere Mountains in the Island of St. Vincent, 30th April 1812

Joseph Mallord William Turner

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