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Sculptural Watercolour®  l'Aquarelle sculpturale

 

Viaduc des Egratz, Haute Savoie, France

Viaduc des Egratz bridge linking the Autoroute Blanche with the Mont Blanc Tunnel

The Viaduc des Egratz motor route linking the Autoroute Blanche to the Mont Blanc Tunnel

a 60cm x 80cm x 6cm sculptural watercolour in a box frame

 

One may only speculate as to the excitement experienced by those nearing St Martin (Sallanches) in 1802. Coach travel ended there, and the tracks ahead could only be navigated by mule-pulled carts, on horseback or on foot.

See the image below: Around 1797 J M W Turner copied an earlier and now lost drawing probably by J R Cozens of an adventurous footbridge across The Arve Falls where the river cascaded from les Houches, through a height difference of over 400m down to the Passy Plain at 570m. Even today, this section of the River Arve remains dangerous and inhospitable and without marked paths and effectively closed to normal public access.

But today we transcend all difficulties effortlessly in our motor car - on the impressive example of structural engineering shown in the painting: the 'Viaduc des Egratz' motor-route that connects the Autoroute Blanche to the Mont Blanc Tunnel: one of the European Union's most important commercial highways. And within the comfort of our vehicle, we remain blissfully unaware of what is sometimes the raging Arve that shares this valley with us.

 

Above: An 18th Century temporary bridge over the Arve Falls

Notice about this work: A Fotbridge over the River Arve in the 18th Century. Drawn by Thomas Girtin and painted by JMW Turner in 1797 from a drawing probably by J R Cozens. The photograph was taken at Tate Britain on 9 October 2012 by John Lumby (Bishop) who states that as he has added no artistic content to the original out-of-copyright flat artwork, the above photo is automaticlally in the Public Domain. The original artwork is 298 x 478 mm and may be viewed at Tate Britain ref: D36545. It was given to the public by JMW Turner himself: Turner Bequest ref: CCCLXXV folio 24. Tate Britain holds the original work in trust on behalf of the public. At the time of viewing the work, the location was uncertain and painting had never been mounted or displayed.

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