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Bellinzona – The Bridge over the Ticino

Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Watercolour painting showing a bridge in an Italian landscape, one of a series that Turner made in 1842 around Bellinzona in Switzerland.

Turner made a series of studies of Bellinzona in Switzerland in around 1842. They were sketches for larger works that he never painted.

Painted over a slight pencil outline, Turner made this picture with very light touches and dabs of watercolour wash with a small amount of dabbing and texturing to suggest the roughness of the rocks in the foreground.

In watercolours such as this Turner often painted on to wet paper to soften the edges of forms and achieve subtle effects of gradation.

Turner transformed the way many artists painted light in both watercolour and oil. Fellow painter John Constable described his paintings as ‘airy visions, painted with tinted steam’.