This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons

File:Rain Steam and Speed the Great Western Railway.jpg

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Original file(3,567 × 2,648 pixels, file size: 1.64 MB, MIME type: image/jpeg)

Summary[edit]

J. M. W. Turner: Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway  wikidata:Q2339059 
Artist
J. M. W. Turner: Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway
Title
Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway; the painting depicts an early locomotive of the Great Western Railway crossing the River Thames on Brunel's recently completed Maidenhead Railway Bridge.The painting is also credited for allowing a glimpse of the Romantic strife within Turner and his contemporaries over the issue of the technological advancement during the Industrial Revolution (see below).
Object type painting
Date 1844
Medium oil on canvas
medium QS:P186,Q296955;P186,Q4259259,P518,Q861259
Dimensions Height: 91 cm (35.8 in); Width: 121.8 cm (47.9 in)
dimensions QS:P2048,91U174728;P2049,121.8U174728
room 34
Accession number
NG538
Credit line Turner Bequest, 1856
References described at URL: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/joseph-mallord-william-turner-rain-steam-and-speed-the-great-western-railway (English)
Source/Photographer http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/artwork.php?artworkid=14508&size=huge

Social Commentary[edit]

Turner was a well traveled man, frequently trekking to natural wonders of mainland Europe and the British Isles to sketch them in one of his dozens of notepads. He knew of the pains one must take to travel off the beaten path and wrote of one such occasion, traveling from Rome to Paris, to a friend in 1829:

“…we never could keep warm or make our day’s distance good, the places we put up at proved all bad till Firenzola being even the worst for the down diligence people had devoured everything eatable (Beds none)…crossed Mont Cenis on a sledge – bivouaced in the snow with fire lighted for 3 Hours on Mont Tarate while the diligence was righted and dug out, for a Bank of Snow saved it from upsetting – and in the walk up to our knees in new fallen drift to get assistance to dig a channel thro’ it for the coach, so that from Foligno to within 20 miles of Paris I never saw the road but snow!”1

Fifteen years later, Turner’s 1844 masterpiece, Rain, Steam and Speed: The Great Western Railway, in a way recognizes his thrill in the speed of the new coal train and his appreciation for such technology when traveling. Yet, he subtly recognizes the progressive threat that humans pose towards the cradle of the earth.

The title follows the Turner pattern of 'nature first' in his titles, but at once you see what looks like a monstrous kiln underneath the rail bridge, and flames engulfing the ecstatic figures on the far side of the river. On top of the bridge you see the face of a demon with the body of a coal burning centipede, which itself looks like a line of glowing embers. Ahead of the train it is hard to spot the tiny hare at full sprint, trying to stay ahead of the state-of-the-art technology of the mid-1800’s. What is so interesting about this piece, Olivier Meslay points out in his book JMW Turner: The Man Who Set Painting on Fire, is that “the notion of the sublime was no longer confined to natural phenomena, but incarnated in machines created by humanity with god-like aspirations, whose new power it served to magnify” and begs to question; what should we fear more, the awe of the wild, or the annihilation of it?2


1. Meslay, Olivier. JMW Turner: The Man Who Set Painting On Fire. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2005. Pg 133

2. Ibid. Pg 107

Licensing[edit]

This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason:
Public domain

This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.


Dialog-warning.svg You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States.

The official position taken by the Wikimedia Foundation is that "faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are public domain".
This photographic reproduction is therefore also considered to be in the public domain in the United States. In other jurisdictions, re-use of this content may be restricted; see Reuse of PD-Art photographs for details.
Annotations This image is annotated: View the annotations at Commons

File history

Click on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time.

Date/TimeThumbnailDimensionsUserComment
current04:51, 29 January 2016Thumbnail for version as of 04:51, 29 January 20163,567 × 2,648 (1.64 MB)JklamoReverted to version as of 20:55, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
04:12, 29 January 2016Thumbnail for version as of 04:12, 29 January 20165,661 × 4,226 (7.02 MB)Mykola SwarnykReverted to version as of 02:28, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
20:55, 12 April 2012Thumbnail for version as of 20:55, 12 April 20123,567 × 2,648 (1.64 MB)Jklamorv, nice resolution, but different colour rendering
02:28, 12 April 2012Thumbnail for version as of 02:28, 12 April 20125,661 × 4,226 (7.02 MB)Aavindraahq
02:33, 25 July 2006Thumbnail for version as of 02:33, 25 July 20063,567 × 2,648 (1.64 MB)JklamoJ. M. W. Turner - ''Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway'' (1844), oil on canvas, National Gallery, London The painting depicts an early locomotive of the Great Western Railway crossing the [[River Th

Global file usage

The following other wikis use this file:

View more global usage of this file.

Metadata